50 years ago , Willie O’Ree became the first black man to play in the NHL when he took the ice for the Boston Bruins. I read a book about him a couple of years ago but hadn’t remembered the particulars of the dates, so I hadn’t realized the 50-year anniversary was upon us. That’s something worth commemorating!

His hometown, Fredericton, New Brunswick, is honoring him with “Willie O’Ree week” this week, and tonight they’ll name an arena after him. Cool, but I was thinking, is that it? Thankfully no – the NHL will also honor him during the upcoming All-Star game at the end of the month.

See also this cartoon in Salon.

Advertisements