Roderick Toombs, a professional wrestler known as "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, died Friday at his home in Hollywood, Calif. He was 61. This story originally ran on NHL.com in October 2012.
In 1969, two tough 15-year-old Winnipeg boys got into a tussle. That's how it started.
Aspiring boxer Rod Toombs handled the larger Cam Connor, sparking an enduring friendship that has lasted more than four decades. It wasn't the last fight for either kid.
Connor eventually was a first-round pick of the NHL and the World Hockey Association. In a pro career that lasted 10 seasons, he won a Stanley Cup with the 1979 Montreal Canadiens and totaled more than 1,000 penalty minutes.
Toombs adopted the moniker "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and became a pro wrestling icon.
"I whupped him and we became friends," Piper told NHL.com. "He was the only friend from my childhood. I love him. He's the only guy I keep in touch with."