Joe Kocur’s Return to Hockey Spurred on by Car Dealer

| content team

A tale of twists and turns

Many of us have heard the story of how the Red Wings signed Joe Kocur out of a Detroit area beer league to play for the Wings back in the 1996-97 season.

It made for terrific newspaper copy and great conversation among Detroit’s sports community since Kocur, along with Bob Probert, were the famed Bruise Brothers. They doled out their brand of frontier justice on the ice during the late 1980s and early 1990s as members of the Wings.

But the story, which has become part of Red Wings folklore, isn’t as simple as, “Hey, Joey Kocur is playing in a beer league, Detroit should sign him.”

It is a story rooted in a common friendship that a hockey coach and a player shared with a couple of car dealers.