BOSTON - The Boston Bruins announced today, January 3, that the NHL, Boston Bruins, and SCORE Boston Hockey will host the annual ''Willie O'Ree Skills Weekend' for the first time in Boston, Massachusetts from January 3-5. Since 1996, the tournament has brought together boys and girls from diverse backgrounds to participate in on-ice and off-ice lessons designed to build confidence and teach life skills.
The weekend was originally founded by Willie O'Ree, who became the first black player ever to play in the NHL when he made his debut for the Bruins on January 18, 1958.
Eighteen 'Hockey Is For Everyone' programs across North America are sending four players to participate in the weekend. The first day will consist of a welcome skate followed by a banquet. Mr. O'Ree will address the players and share the values hockey teaches: teamwork, dedication, and perseverance.
The second day will consist of an afternoon NHL game where the Boston Bruins will face-off against the Edmonton Oilers. Willie O'Ree will perfrom the ceremonial puck drop prior to the game. Following the matinee game, the 'Hockey Is For Everyone' youth hockey players will split up into two teams and play a game on the TD Garden ice.
On the third day, the 18 teams will play in a round robin 3-on-3 tournament at Agganis Arena, home of the Boston University Terriers. Each team will play three games followed by a playoff round. During the day, the kids will hear from a range of speakers from USA Hockey, the NHL, the Boston Bruins, Boston College and others. The guest speakers will focus on the importance of diversity, tolerance, and education, reinforcing that hockey is for everyone and opens doors to many opportunities.
About 'Hockey Is For Everyone'
Since 1996, the NHL's 'Hockey Is For Everyone' youth hockey initiative has provided opportunities for more than 120,000 boys and girls to play hockey. There are currently 26 'Hockey Is For Everyone' programs across North America committed to offering disadvantaged youth an opportunity to play hockey, leveraging the sport to build character, foster positive values and develop important life skills.
About SCORE Boston Hockey
SCORE Boston Hockey (www.scorebostonhockey.org) provides youth, from ages 5 - 14, the opportunity to participate in the sport of ice hockey and inspiration to see their future differently. Our mission is to improve the outcomes for children in the city of Boston and the surrounding communities by using ice hockey as a platform to highlight the importance of education, teach life lessons around perseverance, teamwork, overcoming adversity, and foster an environment of tolerance and respect for others.