Boston Bruins/Providence Bruins winger Bobby Robins announced on Thursday that he will be retiring from the NHL at the age of 33. Robins, a tough-as-nails enforcer, suffered a concussion last year, and made the decision to protect his health and retire from professional hockey.
For years, Robins bounced between the ECHL and AHL, bouncing around in the minors between the Binghamton Senators, Rochester Americans, Albany River Rats, Syracuse Crunch, Abbotsford Heat, and finally, the Providence Bruins. Robins’ longest minors stint came with Providence, as the winger spent the majority of three years with the Baby B’s.
Robins appeared in three games with the Boston Bruins last year, and tallied an impressive 14 penalty minutes. In his first game with the Bruins, Robins newly-acquired Bruins Zac Rinaldo (who was playing with Philly, at the time), and proceeded to fight Luke Schenn.
Robins, while appearing to win the fight, took a dinger from Schenn, and felt concussion symptoms soon after. However, he continued to play for two more games, before sitting out the remainder of the season with post-concussion problems.
“After that first game, looking back, obviously I should have said something and sat out, but I would have literally played through anything at that point,” Robins said, according to the Providence Journal. “I was almost in denial, thinking it would go away, and it never did.
“I’m pretty sure it happened in the fight with Schenn. I kind of felt like I got my bell rung or got dinged in the head — in my line of work it happens more often than not. That’s just kind of how I felt. I got right on the plane (after the game) and went to Detroit thinking it would go away in the morning, like it always had. Then that morning when I woke up in Detroit, it was still there. I was like, oh man, but I would have played right to the death.”
Now, Robins has returned to good health, but has decided that it would be safer for him to move on from professional hockey.
“Hockey is what I know. It’s what I do. But after getting my head banged up like that, it was — no pun intended — a no-brainer for me,” said Robins on his choosing to retire. “I couldn’t do it anymore. After the lowest points that I experienced, to where I am now, where I feel like myself again, there was no way I was ever going to risk getting hit in the head again or going through that again.’’
While Robins is known as an enforcer on the ice, it turns out that he’s, well, quite the opposite off the ice. Andrew Thompson of CausewayCrowd.com summed it up very well:
“While Robins earned himself a reputation in hockey for his fists and his grit, there was a side to him that a lot of people didn’t get to see.” writes Thompson. “I was introduced to his blog by a fellow writer, and found myself surprised and impressed by the intelligence and sincerity of his work. (He had me at ‘misfit harbinger’.) He’s a thoughtful and polite individual in person. He always had time for the fans, and regularly communicated with them via social media. He was one of the most approachable players, and always took a few extra seconds out of his day to make the fans smile.”