Born in Calgary, Alberta, Bob Bassen was a graduate of the WHL's Medicine Hat Tigers. A feisty winger who scored 32 goals in final year of junior hockey, Bassen represented Canada at the 1985 World Junior Championships before signing as a free agent with the New York Islanders. Bassen spent his first four years of his professional career with the New York Islanders before joining the Chicago Blackhawks organization in 1988-89.
Bassen, the son of former NHL goalie Hank Bassen, split his time between Chicago and the IHL's Indianapolis Ice before joining the St. Louis Blues in 1990-91. In his first year with the Blues, Bassen established a career high 34 points and continued play a hard nosed game in the defensive end.
The Quebec Nordiques acquired Bassen during the 1993-94 season. The Calgary native's stay in Quebec lasted only two seasons before he joined the Dallas Stars for the 1995-96 season. An injury plagued season limited Bassen to a mere 13 games.
Throughout his playing career Bassen suited up for some seven teams between 1985 and 2000 as a useful role player, banger, and hitter. He also played for Canada at the 1992 World Championships and briefly in Germany at the start of the 1999-2000 season before accepting the assistant coaching position with the AHL's Utah Grizzlies in 2001-02.