In honour of the gold medal earned today in Sochi’s Men’s hockey, and still continuing with Black History Month, allow me to introduce you to Willie O’Ree, NHL player.
Willie Eldon O’Ree was born October 15, 1935, in Fredericton, New Brunswick, and is a Canadian former professional ice hockey player, and is known best for being the first black player in the National Hockey League.
On January 18, 1958, he skated on the ice at the Montreal Forum to play his first game in the NHL — and made history.
Like any Canadian kid, Willie played hockey with his friends, and dreamed of playing professionally. For O’Ree that dream came true. He became the first black player in the NHL. As a matter of fact, he was the only black player until another Canadian player, Mike Marson, was drafted by the Washington Capitals in 1974.
He played from 1957 to 1979 and was known for his speed and checking abilities. Unfortunately, his career was cut short by an injury.