Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he keeps a signed hockey stick from “living legend” Willie O’Ree as a constant reminder of the work that remains to combat racism.
O’Ree in 1958 became the first Black man to play in the NHL. He and Trudeau participated Monday in a virtual assembly with Canadian students, marking both the first day of Black History Month and the Canadian release of a new documentary about O’Ree.
Trudeau keeps the stick O’Ree gave him during a 2018 visit to Parliament Hill next to his desk. He says they are a testament to O’Ree’s perseverance and a daily reminder that neither Canada, nor the game it loves, is inclusive enough.
The 85-year-old O’Ree played 45 games for the Boston Bruins in 1958 and 1961.