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Entries with the tag: willie o'ree
NEW YORK (September 20, 2011)— The National Hockey League (NHL) today announced plans to send representatives and hockey ambassadors to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 41st Annual Legislative Conference, marking the first time the hockey community has had a formal presence at the annual public policy gathering.
Among those in attendance will be NHL legend and Hockey is for Everyone™ Ambassador Willie O’Ree, NHL Vice President of Community Affairs Kenneth Martin, Jr., NHL Network analyst and NHL alumnus Kevin Weekes and local Washington, D.C., youth hockey coaching legend and 2010 Bridgestone Mark Messier Leadership Award recipient Neal Henderson. Washington Capitals forward Joel Ward is scheduled to attend the Phoenix Awards Dinner on Saturday, Sept. 24.
NEW YORK (June 28, 2011) – Willie O’Ree, the first black player in the National Hockey League (NHL), is to be honored at the annual ‘Tradition’ awards ceremony in Boston, MA tonight. Hosted by The Sports Museum, the 10th annual awards gala will include a presentation of the Hockey Legacy Award to O’Ree in recognition of his trailblazing NHL career and his many contributions to the community. Past recipients of this award include Boston Bruins alumni Johnny Bucyk, Phil Esposito and Harry Sinden.
This year’s award will be presented to O’Ree by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.
“On behalf of the National Hockey League family, we congratulate Willie O’Ree on being awarded the Hockey Legacy Award in recognition of his lifetime of outstanding achievement, service and dedication to the community,” said Kenneth Martin, Jr., NHL Vice President of Community Affairs. “We are proud of all that he has done as an ambassador for the game.”
O’Ree currently serves as the NHL’s Director of Youth Development and hockey ambassador for the Hockey is for Everyone initiative, a post he has held since January 1998. On January 18, 1958, playing for the Boston Bruins against the Montreal Canadiens, he became the first black person to play in the NHL—an extraordinary event that paved the way for future players of diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds.
From Thomas LaRocca at NHL.com:
“I was nervous,” O’Ree said of his taping. “I was more nervous than in my NHL debut. I had my lines all down pat and then they changed the script and then changed it again.
“This was my first acting appearance and it was fun; but I would much rather be on the ice playing hockey.”
Spoken like a true hockey player.
Also appearing in the episode was New Jersey Devils goaltender Kevin Weekes. He was also in the scene with O’Ree, helping the two main characters, Drew and Chris, with directions to see the New York Islanders play Wayne Gretzky’s Edmonton Oilers in the early 1980s.
NEW YORK (January 17, 2008) – In celebration of the 50th anniversary of his NHL debut, Willie O’Ree will be a guest on today’s edition of NHL Hour hosted by National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman on XM Satellite Radio.
On January 18, 1958, playing for the Boston Bruins against the Montreal Canadiens, O’Ree became the first black person to play in the NHL. O’Ree played 45 games with the Bruins from 1958-61. His professional career spanned 21 seasons, mostly in the Western Hockey League (WHL) with the Los Angeles Blades and the San Diego Gulls. For the past 10 years, O’Ree has served as the National Hockey League’s Director of Youth Development and hockey ambassador for NHL Diversity and has introduced the game to thousands of future players of diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds.
NHL Hour broadcasts live Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET on NHL Home Ice, (XM channel 204) and NHL.com. The show will re-run on XM Satellite Radio and NHL.com, with archived shows available for download via a podcast on NHL.com.
*At showtime, listen live at this link
from Black Athlete,
Tough Willie O’Ree—whose older brother used to hit him into the boards to get him used to the greetings of NHL players—always had to be ready for a fight. Because there was always a fist, elbow, stick or—especially in New York, Chicago and Detroit—a slur in O’Ree’s face.
“I never wanted to be a fighter, but I wasn’t going to let anyone push me out of the league,” he says as we walk the quiet halls of the TD Banknorth Garden, the arena that replaced the original Boston Garden in 1995.
He never picked a fight because of a racial comment.
“I let them go in one ear and out the other—(otherwise) I’d be fighting all the time,” he says.
Update 5:19pm ET: At Willie O’Ree’s NHL.com blog, an interview with O’Ree and Snoop Dogg at a Ducks game this week.
from Devon O’Neil of the Boston Globe,
By 1996, most of the sports world - and, for that matter, the rest of the world - had forgotten about Willie O’Ree. Which explains how he found himself working in San Diego at the historic Hotel del Coronado as a security guard, making about $9 an hour, a soft-spoken black man with gray wisps of hair from the Canadian province of New Brunswick, creeping through his 60s politely and privately.
Every so often, O’Ree would bump into someone who knew who he was. Like the time before he took the job at the hotel, when he was assigned to work security for Michael Jordan at a pro-am golf tournament. Jordan grinned when he saw O’Ree. He knew he’d been the first black man ever to take the ice in an NHL game, that he was, as it’s said, the “Jackie Robinson of hockey.”
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