As Diversity Ambassador, O'Ree has helped the NHL's Hockey is for Everyone initiative introduce more than 85,000 boys and girls of diverse backgrounds to unique hockey experiences. Over the past decade, O'Ree has traveled thousands of miles across North America helping to establish 36 local grassroots hockey programs, all geared towards serving economically disadvantaged youth. While advocating strongly that "Hockey is for Everyone," O'Ree stresses the importance of essential life skills, education, and the core values of hockey, which are: commitment, perseverance, and teamwork.
O'Ree is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. In addition to being inducted into the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame in 1984, he received the Lester Patrick Award for outstanding service to hockey in the United States in 2003. In 2007 O'Ree became the inaugural recipient of the Bill Walsh Champion of Change Award, which recognizes an individual whose tenaciousness of purpose paved a path of opportunity to everyone. In January 2008 the Fredericton, New Brunswick City Council named their new hockey arena after O'Ree in honor of his accomplishments.
In April 2010 O'Ree received the Order of Canada, Canada's highest civilian honor. He is the first black hockey player ever to receive the prestigious award.
In June 2011 O'Ree received the Sports Museum's Hockey Legacy Award in recognition of his trailblazing NHL career and his many contributions to the hockey community.
O'Ree resides in San Diego, California with his wife, Deljeet, and daughter Chandra.
2017 Hockey Is For Everyone Team Ambassadors
In addition to Willie O'Ree, the following players will serve as Hockey Is For Everyone Ambassadors in their market during the 2017 Hockey Is For Everyone Month: