Willie O'Ree, the first black player in NHL history and the League's director of youth development, visited Honda Center on Wednesday not only to drop the ceremonial first puck before the Anaheim Ducks' 5-3 victory against the Boston Bruins, but to speak about the virtues of the S.C.O.R.E. program, an initiative to help kids achieve their goals in school.
O'Ree, who broke into the NHL with the Bruins in 1957-58, visited Anaheim area youth last month on behalf of S.C.O.R.E. (Scholastic Curriculum of Recreation and Education), which was developed by the Ducks in 2005 and furnishes school supplies to more than 18,000 fourth grade students each year.
"I want to tell these kids to stay in school, set goals for yourselves and work toward your goals," O'Ree told Fox Sports West host Kent French. "Whatever these kids want to do … there's no substitute for hard work. You only get out of a thing what you put into it, so I emphasize to these boys and girls, superior attitude and superior state of mind."
O'Ree has been traveling throughout North America in an effort to expose hockey to youths as part of the NHL's Hockey Is For Everyone initiative, and conducts on- and off-ice clinics to kids who want to learn to play the sport.
"I visit schools, Boys and Girls Clubs, juvenile detention facilities, just trying to encourage more boys and girls to get into the game," O'Ree said.
Video: BOS@ANA: Willie O'Ree drops the puck in Anaheim