Boston Bruins

Willie O'Ree's Hockey Stick Reminds Trudeau of Fight Against Racism

A pregame video ceremony honors Hockey Hall of Fame member Willie O'Ree prior to the Philadelphia Flyers' home game against the Buffalo Sabres on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021.
Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

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.

Former Boston College Women's Hockey and Boston Pride (NWHL) defenseman Blake Bolden joins NBC10 Boston to share her story on breaking barriers in both men’s and women's professional hockey.
Copyright AP - Associated Press
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