Bruins to retire Willie O’Ree’s No. 22 in February

Willie O’Ree will get another honor this season when the Bruins retire his No. 22 jersey prior to their Feb. 18 video game versus New Jersey.

“On behalf of the Boston Bruins organization I would like to congratulate Willie O’Ree as well as his wife, Deljeet, and his daughter, Chandra, on having his number retired in the TD Garden rafters,” stated Bruins President Web cam Neely. “Willie’s contributions to the game of hockey transcend on-ice accomplishments and have opened countless doors for players who have come after him. He is without question deserving of this honor.”

Throughout a video game on Jan. 18, 1958, O’Ree ended up being the very first Black gamer to play in an NHL video game when he wore for the Bruins. While he invested the majority of his hockey profession in the minors, playing just 45 video games in Boston his most significant effect has actually come out of uniform.

After his gamer profession ended, O’Ree devoted his life to growing the video game at the grassroots level. Considering that 1998 he’s been the Variety Ambassador enemy the NHL, assisting their Hockey is For Everybody project. His work led to him being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Popularity in 2018 in the “Builder” classification.

[Anson Carter: What Willie O’Ree’s Hall of Fame induction means to me]

“My dad said, ‘Willie, find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life,’ and there’s a lot of truth to that,” O’Ree informed NBC Sports in 2019. “Find something that you really enjoy doing and it doesn’t seem like a job. That’s the position I have with the Hockey is For Everyone program, getting around to meeting these kids and helping them set goals for themselves and helping them become better citizens and believing in themselves. You have to believe in yourself. If you feel good [in your heart] and [in your head] then you can do anything you can set your mind to do.”

O’Ree will be the 12th gamer have his number honored by the Bruins, and initially considering that Rick Middleton in 2018.

According heap the Bruins, COVID-19 limitations imply there will likely not be fans in participation for the event. However they state O’Ree will be honored once again when it’s safe to invite an offered out TD Garden crowd.

The NHL revealed on Monday that all gamers will use a helmet decal from Jan. 16 to the end of February in honor of O’Ree and to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the U.S.

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Sean Leahy is an author for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Bruins to retire Willie O’Ree’s No. 22 in February initially appeared on NBCSports.com

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.