NEWS
01/17/2018 12:29 EST | Updated 01/17/2018 15:45 EST

Boston honours hockey pioneer Willie O'Ree who broke NHL's colour barrier

BOSTON — Hockey pioneer Willie O'Ree was honoured in Boston on Wednesday on the 60th anniversary of the Bruins forward breaking the NHL's colour barrier.

At a news conference at the TD Garden before the Bruins game against the Montreal Canadiens, Mayor Marty Walsh declared Jan. 18, 2018 to be "Willie O'Ree Day". O'Ree made his debut in 1958 during a 3-0 victory against the Canadiens at the Forum in Montreal.

Walsh called O'Ree a Boston legend who changed the city for the better and thanked him for his courage. As part of the celebration, the city dedicated a new street hockey rink in the Allston-Brighton neighbourhood to be known as Willie O'Ree Rink.

A native of Fredericton, N.B., O'Ree, 82, had four goals and 10 assists in 45 games over parts of two NHL seasons. He spent a total of 21 years in pro hockey.

For the past two decades, O'Ree has served as the NHL's Diversity Ambassador, spreading the message that hockey is for everyone.

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