Meet Willie O'Ree

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On January 18, 1958, Willie O’Ree made history as the first black player in the NHL when he suited up with the Boston Bruins against the Montreal Canadiens. O’Ree went on to play a total of 45 games with the Bruins, a remarkable achievement considering what he overcame to get there. In addition to dealing with racism, bigotry and name-calling, Willie lived with a secret disability: he was blind in one eye — a fact he had to keep to himself, or he’d never play in the NHL. Thanks to his relentless positivity and love of the game, Willie’s time with the Bruins was only one of his many achievements in hockey. The Scholastic Canada Biography series aims to introduce young readers to remarkable Canadians whose lives and contributions have shaped our country and led the way for others to follow in their footsteps.

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