Willie O’Ree’s number to be retired by Boston Bruins tonight

A Brand New Brunswick hockey legend might be honoured again Tuesday night whilst his quantity is retired by way of the crew with which he made history.

Willie O’Ree’s jersey quantity 22 will likely be retired by way of the Boston Bruins at TD Lawn ahead of the team’s game in opposition to the Carolina Hurricanes. O’Ree’s number used to be meant to be retired at a rite in February of last 12 months, but it was once postponed due to COVID-19 attendance regulations at the time.

Fluto Shinzawa, a senior creator on the Athletic who covers the Bruins, mentioned the glory is an extended time coming for O’Ree.

“the atmosphere might be nice and he deserves it,” said Shinzawa.

“talk about how courageous you’ve to be to play hockey generally — neatly, you enlarge that via ONE HUNDRED in Willie’s condition.”

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Willie O’Ree looked earlier and fought through racism to transform NHL’s 1st Black playerBruins postpone Willie O’Ree honours till ’22 so enthusiasts will also be present

Hockey’s colour barrier

The Fredericton-born winger turned into the primary Black hockey participant to play in the NHL while he entered a recreation on Jan. 18, 1958, against the Montreal Canadiens.

O’Ree may move directly to play FORTY FIVE video games for the Bruins over two seasons, scoring four targets and 10 assists.

He was inducted into the Hockey Corridor of Popularity in 2018.

O’Ree will become handiest the twelfth participant in Bruins history to have his sweater number retired, joining the likes of Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito and Ray Bourque.

Willie O'Ree's number to be retired by Boston Bruins tonight

O’Ree played 45 video games for the Boston Bruins over two seasons, changing into the NHL’s first Black player. (The Related Press)

While his tale is easily known in his home province, Shinzawa admits O’Ree isn’t as familiar to people as Jackie Robinson, the first Black major league baseball participant in the up to date era.

Shinzawa stated a part of that may be as a result of O’Ree’s somewhat short while in the large leagues.

But he also thinks hockey hasn’t done as much as different sports activities to offer a welcoming house for gamers of colour, and mentioned that plays an element within the beneath-appreciation of O’Ree’s legacy.

Hockey software has objective to battle racism in recreation

“Hockey has no longer advanced to the purpose that those different sports activities have in phrases of greater integration,” mentioned Shinzawa.

“Just in speaking to Black households round right here in Boston … it will also be an intimidating thing to go right into a hockey rink. It Is unfamiliar to so much of families and a lot of gamers.” 

New Brunswick fanatics make the go back and forth

Despite The Fact That O’Ree won’t be at the rink tonight  — he’ll be attending virtually from his home in San Diego because of the pandemic — some New Brunswick hockey enthusiasts determined to make the shuttle to Boston, anyway.

To attend Tuesday’s game, Kevin Johnson drove thru a powerful iciness hurricane that hit the northeast Monday.

“We have been right down to 25 km/h. i think we could’ve walked sooner,” he mentioned.

Even hours before the rite, Johnson mentioned the concept of what it can be like being within the enviornment gives him goosebumps.

Willie O'Ree's number to be retired by Boston Bruins tonight

O’Ree will probably be not able to attend the rite in Boston as a result of the COVID-19 state of affairs, but will probably be attending just about from his home in San Diego. (Stephen MacGillivray/The Canadian Press)

“It Is just awesome to be here to be a part of it,” mentioned Johnson. 

“… To be right here to look his name being known for what he is performed and what he stands for and the possibilities that he is given everybody to play hockey and for equality, it is simply superior.”

Shinzawa may also be in attendance this night. He mentioned the honour for O’Ree is easily deserved, given all he is done to serve the game and in being a role model for Black avid gamers.

“It Is too unhealthy Willie won’t be in attendance. …The rite will do him right, even if he can’t be right here.”

For extra stories concerning the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success tales inside the Black group — take a look at Being Black in Canada, a CBC undertaking Black Canadians may also be pleased with. you’ll learn more tales right here.

Willie O'Ree's number to be retired by Boston Bruins tonight

(CBC)

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