On January 18, 1958, Willie Eldon O’Ree made his NHL Debut against the Montreal Canadiens.
It was here, in that game, where history was made. The first black player in the NHL.
O’Ree’s career spanned 23 years of productive play across nearly every level imaginable, but he is most remembered for doing what he did here in Boston: play his game, regardless of what people thought of him.
Today, the Bruins and the City of Boston have honored and will continue to honor him throughout the day, as today was declared “Willie O’Ree Day” as decreed by Marty Walsh.
Marty Walsh just proclaimed Jan. 18 as Willie O’Ree Day in the city of Boston.— Amalie Benjamin (@AmalieBenjamin) January 17, 2018
On top of that, Gary Bettman was in Boston today, and presented him with the framed official scoresheets of his debut game against the Habs...
Commissioner Bettman presents Mr. O’Ree with the framed scoring sheet from his NHL debut against the Montreal Canadiens on Jan. 18, 1958. pic.twitter.com/Z08ozjnpDh— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) January 17, 2018
A Street hockey rink in Allston named in his honor...
The Willie O’Ree Community Rink at Smith Playground in Allston-Brighton will open this summer. #HockeyIsForEveryone pic.twitter.com/n6iCpcTkcW— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) January 17, 2018
...And finally, the Bruins will be wearing a special patch to commemorate this occasion.
The #NHLBruins will mark the 60th anniversary of Willie O'Ree's NHL debut with a special patch and logo for this evening's game against Montreal. pic.twitter.com/2juoLSf2cL— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) January 17, 2018
The Bruins won that game back in 1958 by a score of 3-0.
Maybe the B’s should honor him one more time with a similar score?
Regardless, happy Willie O’Ree day!