63 years after becoming the first Black man to play in the NHL with the Boston Bruins, Willie O'Ree will have his #22 retired by the team on February 18th. Considering that MLB retired Jackie Robinson's #42 across the league 24 years ago, this has been a long time coming.
Even though it's been 60 years since O'Ree last suited up for the Bs, he has helped grow the game in the ensuing decades as the NHL's Diversity Ambassador and brought hockey to kids who otherwise wouldn't come across it. O'Ree was finally elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018.
In 1961, O'Ree was unexpectedly traded by the Bruins and didn't have a game jersey from his time in Boston. However, Bull Gang member John Grzelcyk (father of Bruins D-man Matt) had an old Bs jersey in his closet for years before realizing whose it was. So he made arrangements to get it back to its rightful owner.
Congratulations to Willie O'Ree on a long-deserved honor.