As told to: Mike DownieIn 1986, as a rookie, I played about 15 games in the minors for the St. Louis Blues and then I got called up. My first game was in the old rink in Chicago – The Mad House on Madison. It’s hard to explain what 20,000 screaming fans sound like — but it’s an overwhelming feeling. On my first shift in the NHL I fought Marc Bergevin. I won but it wasn’t much of a fight.
Now I wasn’t a quintessential fighter who studied the tapes – I never did any of that. My brother, Dean, was more aggressive and he was drafted by the Islanders and he did all that. He liked to watch the tapes and he knew what hand they threw with and who the fighters were.
My next game was at home in St. Louis against the Detroit Red Wings. So I jump over the boards for my first shift and go down the ice and turn around and here is this guy who wants to fight. He drops the gloves and he throws a couple of fists, and ya know you got to be good to be lucky and you got to be lucky to be good, anyway I throw one and get him square on the jaw and down he goes, knocked him out with one punch. So I’m sitting there in the penalty box and we are serving our time and feeling our shame and I come out and boom he wants to go again and I think who is this guy – he’s nuts? So we fight again outside the penalty box and this one is a lot more even. But it was fun.
“Hey man, just had my second game in the NHL and it was awesome I fought this guy his name is Preburt or Proberb, something like that.”
So after the game I call my brother up and say, “Hey man, just had my second game in the NHL and it was awesome I fought this guy his name is Preburt or Proberb, something like that.” Anyway he doesn’t say anything for a second or two then he goes, “Ahh Bob Probert?” And I said ya that’s the guy. Then he asks, “So how did you do?” I told him I knocked him out in the first fight with one punch. He says, “You just knocked out Bob Probert? You have no idea what you just did, do ya?” He was right, I had no clue.
Listen to the uncut live recording of the interview with Todd Ewen and Mike Downie below:
MIKE DOWNIE is the co-creator of ‘Slapshot Diaries’ and an award-winning documentary film-maker.
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