Willie O'Ree
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Willie O'Ree

The story of the first black player in the NHL

By Nicole Mortillaro

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Series: Lorimer Recordbooks

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Willie O'Ree quietly made NHL history at the Montreal Forum on January 18, 1958, when he became the first black player to take to the ice. In the dressing room before the game, his Boston Bruins teammates told him not to worry. If any one of the Montreal players said anything to him, they'd have his back.

There was a round of applause when O'Ree stepped onto the ice, and newspapers ran the story. The colour barrier in the NHL had been broken, yet it would be sixteen years before the next black player, Mike Marson, was drafted. Four decades later, the NHL pulled O'Ree out of retirement to honour his achievement and make him an ambassador for the NHL's "Hockey is for Everyone" program to encourage kids from all backgrounds to play hockey.

This book traces the early life of O'Ree in Fredericton, New Brunswick, his journey to the NHL, highlights from his hockey career, and his work encouraging diversity in the NHL.


Commended - Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books for Kids & Teens - 2013

Short-listed - Red Cedar Award - 2014

Commended - Resource Links - The Year's Best - 2013

NICOLE MORTILLARO is the author of several hockey books for children, including the Recordbooks Something to Prove and Jarome Iginla. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.

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Publication Details:

Binding: Paperback, 120 pages
Publication Date: 4th February 2020
ISBN: 9781459415164
Format: 7in x 4.25in
20 b+w photographs

Binding: Electronic book text
Publication Date: 4th February 2020
ISBN: 9781459415171
Format: EPUB
20 b+w photographs

BISAC Code:  JNF007050, JNF007100, JNF053140
Imprint: Lorimer

Interest age: From 12 To 18
Fry Reading Level [grade]: 4.9
Lexile Reading Level: 870L


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