The Autobiography of Willie ORee : Hockeys Black Pioneer by Willie OReeOn January 18, 1958, Willie ORee stepped onto the ice at the Montreal Forum and changed the face of hockey. Racial prejudice was not Willies only challenge: in junior hockey, an errant puck blinded Willie in his right eye. Doctors told Willie he would never play hockey again. Willie went on to play 1,288 games as a professional, in the NHL(R) and WHL over a 21-year pro career.
Willies story is a heroic tale of perseverance, courage and passion for the game of hockey. Today, Willie works on behalf of the NHL(R)/USA Hockey Diversity Task Force, bringing the game to underprivileged kids across the nation.
Willie O'Ree's Hall of Fame speech
The Autobiography of Willie O’ree: Hockey’s Black Pioneer
He was the youngest of 13 children of parents Rosebud and Harry. He instantly had a passion for the game. The fact that I was black never came up when we played as kids. He was advised by a doctor to stop playing hockey, but he was back on the ice within two months. As an organization, the Aces had a history of integration.
Sign in. William Eldon "Willie" O'Ree is considered to be a pioneer, or "The Jackie Robinson of hockey", for being the first black player in the National Hockey League, but if you asked O'Ree, he didn't think being a pioneer was a big deal and he would rather you think and accept him as another hockey player. He loved to skate any chance he could then he started to play organized hockey when he was five. As he grew older, O'Ree played in more competitive hockey leagues and would play for the Kitchner Canucks of the Ontario Hockey Association in the season and would sign with the Quebec Aces, in the season, which would be the start of a three decade mostly minor professional career. That season, he played only two games for the Bruins and was sent back to the minors.
Willie O'Ree, byname of William O'Ree, (born October 15, , Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada), the first black hockey player to play in a National Hockey.
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I could still see out of my left eye. I wanted to play and I did what I had to do to compensate for the injury. After being injured, I came back and tried to play as if I had recovered. Concentrate on what you can see. On Jan. At the time, the Canadiens were in the third season of a five-year run as Stanley Cup champions. A year earlier, Montreal defeated Boston in the Stanley Cup finals.
O'Ree played as a winger for the Boston Bruins. O'Ree is referred to as the " Jackie Robinson of ice hockey" due to breaking the black colour barrier in the sport,  [NB 1] and has stated publicly that he had met Jackie Robinson twice in his own younger years. O'Ree was blind in his right eye due to being hit there by an errant puck two years earlier,  which normally would have precluded him from playing in the NHL. However, O'Ree managed to keep it secret, and made his NHL debut with the Bruins on January 18, ,   against the Montreal Canadiens , becoming the first black player in league history. He played two games that year, with centreman Don McKenney and right wing Jerry Toppazzini as his linemates. O'Ree noted that " racist remarks were much worse in the U.
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