Bill Riley puck drop cropped

The Winnipeg Jets brought in a special guest to help celebrate Black History Night on Tuesday.

Before the game against the Minnesota Wild at Canada Life Centre, former Jets forward Bill Riley performed the ceremonial puck drop with Jets captain Adam Lowry and Wild alternate captain Kirill Kaprizov.

Riley is a trailblazer in the sport as the third Black player in League history. His NHL career spanned from 1974-1980 where he played four seasons with the Washington Capitals before he was claimed by the Jets in the 1979 Expansion Draft.

He played 14 games with the Jets and then played in the minor leagues until his retirement in 1984.

“I can’t thank the Winnipeg Jets organization enough for giving me the opportunity to come here and be part of Black History Month with them,” said Riley in an interview with Jets reporter Sara Orlesky. “It’s a great event.”

He received a strong ovation from the crowd before dropping the puck.