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Willie O’Ree, the National Hockey League’s 1st Black Player, Receives Unanimous Support from U.S. Senate for Congressional Gold Medal

While the U.S. Senate hasn’t agreed on much of anything for several years, this week it unanimously passed legislation granting the Congressional Gold Medal to Willie O’Ree, the first Black player to compete in the National Hockey League.

The legislation now moves to the U.S. House of Representatives for approval so O’Ree, 85, and known as the “Jackie Robinson of hockey,” can receive this much deserved honor.

O’Ree broke the NHL’s color barrier in 1958 by playing as a winger for the Boston Bruins, one of six teams at the time. O’Ree, who is Canadian, played professional hockey in his home country before joining the NHL and retiring from the sport in 1979. He has spent the past two decades as the NHL’s diversity ambassador with his Hockey is for Everyone youth program.

To quote cnn.com:

In every game he played in, O’Ree… heard name calling from opposing players and from fans in the stands. “Besides being Black and being blind in my right eye, I was faced with four other things: racism, prejudice, bigotry and ignorance,” he said.

The legislation would award O’Ree the nation’s highest civilian award that Congress can bestow “in recognition of his extraordinary contributions and commitment to hockey, inclusion, and recreational opportunity.”

O’Ree was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018 for his off-ice contributions to the sport. The Bruins retired O’Ree’s No. 22 jersey in February of this year.

In addition to his 2020 memoir Willie: The Game-Changing Story of the NHL’s First Black PlayerO’Ree has also been the subject of children’s books like Willie O’Ree: The story of the first black player in the NHL by Nicole Mortillaro and Scholastic Canada Biography: Meet Willie O’Ree by Elizabeth MacLeod.

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2021/07/31/politics/willie-oree-congressional-gold-medal-nhl-senate/index.html

https://www.theroot.com/willie-oree-nhls-1st-black-hockey-player-set-to-recei-1847384678

(paid amazon links)

Original article source: https://goodblacknews.org/2021/08/02/willie-oree-the-national-hockey-leagues-1st-black-player-receives-unanimous-support-from-u-s-senate-for-congressional-gold-medal/ | Article may or may not reflect the views of KLEK 102.5 FM or The Voice of Arkansas Minority Advocacy Council

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