Willie O’Ree, who became the first black player in NHL history when he suited up for the Boston Bruins in 1958, will make a visit to Pittsburgh Saturday and be involved in a full day of activities to promote the NHL’s Diversity Program.
|Willie O'Ree |
O’Ree, the NHL’s Director of Youth Development and ambassador for NHL Diversity, will start the day by attending the Penguins’ morning skate at 10:30 a.m. at Mellon Arena. He will be joined by young players from the inner-city hockey program, “Hockey in the Hood.” The youngsters will make a presentation to O’Ree and also have a chance to meet Penguins players.
O’Ree will conduct a street hockey clinic at the Ammon Recreation Center on Bedford Avenue in the Hill District at 12:30 p.m., then attend the Hockey in the Hood practice at the RMU Island Sports Center on Neville Island at 3:15.
He also will attend the Penguins game against the New York Rangers Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. at Mellon Arena.
O’Ree broke the NHL’s color barrier on January, 18, 1958 with the Bruins. He played 45 games with the Bruins from 1958-61, registering four goals and 10 assists for 14 points. He played pro hockey for 21 seasons, most of those with the Los Angeles Blades and San Diego Gulls of the Western Hockey League.
The NHL is commemorating the 50th anniversary of O’Ree’s debut throughout the 2007-08 season.