BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Bruins say they will retire the jersey of Willie O’Ree, who broke the NHL’s color barrier. O’Ree will have his No. 22 jersey honored prior to the Bruins’ Feb. 18 game against the New Jersey Devils.
He became the league’s first Black player when he suited up for Boston on Jan. 18, 1958 against the Montreal Canadiens, despite being legally blind in one eye.
O’Ree played two seasons for the Bruins, retiring from professional hockey in 1979. He becomes the 12th player in team history to have a sweater hung in the TD Garden rafters.
O’Ree played seven seasons with the original San Diego Gulls. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018.
“At the age of 14, I set two goals for myself — to play professional hockey and one day play in the National Hockey League,” O’Ree said at the induction ceremony at the Hockey Hall of Fame. “.All I wanted was to be a hockey player. All I needed was the opportunity.