NHL Players Honor Willie O’Ree for Black History Month
In celebration of a historic and inspiring first in the NHL, some players in the league are wearing custom Bauer skates. The design decision was made as a way to recognize Black History Month.
In 1958, Willie O’Ree made hockey history when he became the first Black player in the NHL. O’Ree made his debut as a Boston Bruin and enjoyed a career that is still praised to this day. For Black History Month, currently NHL players are honoring O’Ree by wearing skates that share his likeness.
The skates, designed and manufactured by Bauer, adorn the image of Willie O’Ree — as well as some of his favorite phrases. Messages of motivation found on the custom skate include a peace symbol and phrases such as “A movement not a moment.” O’Ree’s No. 22 is displayed on the tongue and heel of each skate. The historic hockey player is also quoted on the skates with the phrase “All I needed was the opportunity.”