On January 18th, 1958, Willie O’Ree hit the ice for the Boston Bruins and broke the colour barrier in the NHL by becoming its first ever Black player. Today, he continues to work as a Diversity Ambassador for the NHL, and on Monday, O’Ree was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame for his pioneering efforts.
In his induction speech, O’Ree reflected on breaking the colour barrier and remembering others who have also paved the way, before ending with a reminder of the work ahead.
While tonight is a night of celebration for O’Ree and other legends who have left their mark on the sport of hockey, he continues to be forward-minded on the topic of diversity and that’s truly admirable.
Joining him in the Hall of Fame is Gary Bettman, who was a little more self-deprecating in his induction speech.