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Hilbert and I.C.E. Tour Celebrate Willie O'Ree Day

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders
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On his last day traveling with the I.C.E. Tour, Andy Hilbert made his way south to Long Beach to be a part of a very special event—Willie O'Ree Day. The celebration began at City Hall, where Hilbert met the man who was the first African-American player in the NHL. After the two met, a celebration began in front of the City Hall fountains as numerous politicians greeted O'Ree. Hilbert was also introduced, as he proudly represented the Islanders during this special day. After O'Ree was given the key to the city, a parade began with local teams, such as the Freeport Arrows and Long Beach house league teams leading the way. Also in the parade were the Islanders SUV and RV, along with Sparky, the Ice Girls, and Hilbert. The parade marched down Park Boulevard and up Magnolia Boulevardd all the way to the ice rink, where the complete I.C.E. Tour set up of inflatable games awaited. While some kids enjoyed the inflatables, others went inside to play in the games of hockey scheduled over the course of the day, including the first one of the day, a sled hockey game. Hilbert stayed to sign autographs for more than 200 fans. "Today was very special," explained Hilbert. "Meeting someone as important to the game as Willie O'Ree and being a part of all of the festivities today was a real honor. It was a great community event and the Islanders were definitely out in full force to support it."
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