Willie O'ree for Hockey Hall of Fame
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To the Selection Committee of the Hockey Hall of Fame,
We request the induction of Mr. Willie O’ree, CM, ONB into the Hockey Hall of Fame under the Builder category for his significant contributions to the game of hockey as a pioneer of the sport.
On January 18, 1958, Mr. Willie O’ree made his debut with the Boston Bruins, breaking the color barrier as the first Black player in the history of the NHL. His incredible achievement has influenced and paved the way for a score of players and fans of color, including Grant Fuhr, the first Black member inducted into the Hall, who thanked Mr. O’ree during his acceptance speech.
In the years since, Mr. O’ree has become one of the League’s strongest advocates for diversity, holding the title of Director of Youth Development for the NHL/USA Hockey Diversity Task Force since 1998. Under his leadership, the program has grown to introduce more than 40,000 children of various socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds to the game of hockey with the guiding principle that Hockey is For Everyone. His efforts and mentorship have led to the creation of more than 30 youth hockey programs for low-income families and countless scores of new hockey fans from non-traditional hockey markets.
On the 60th anniversary of his monumental feat, we ask that the Hockey Hall of Fame Selection Committee, and the NHL finally acknowledge Mr. O’ree’s awe-inspiring contributions to hockey.
Photo by Bill Wippert/NHL Special thanks to Ashley @FrazierAsh
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