On October 15, 1935, a legend was born.. Willie Eldon O’Ree was born and raised in Fredericton, where he developed his love, and skills for hockey.
Willie was the first black hockey player in the NHL, and broke the rule where only white people were allowed to play. Willie was a strong player, he could not have accomplished this without the help and support of his family. While millions and millions of people were rooting against Willie, his family encouraged him through it all. O’Ree had so many role models since he was the youngest of 13 children. His parents are Rosebud O’Ree and Harry O’Ree.
His grandparents escaped slavery in the Underground Railroad and came to Canada in the mid 1800’s. At age 3, he instantly fell in love with hockey. Willie played hockey in his backyard rink, but there was no issue by the fact that he was black. He played for so many leagues and he kept on advancing to higher leagues. His whole life, he played for the New Brunswick teams, but at age 19, he moved to Quebec. Now, WIllie O’Ree has a wife named Diljeet Manak O’Ree and his daughter, Chandra O’Ree.
With his family by his side through his whole journey, he pushed through all the racism and accomplished so many things. With the help of his family, he made history in the hockey world! To start off, in Willie’s 1955-1956 season in the OHL (Ontario Hockey League) when he played for the Kitchener Canucks, Willie got shot with a puck in his eye and lost 95% vision in that eye. The amazing thing is, he played hockey for years and more years after his injury. Willie even made it to the NHL and played for the Boston Bruins for two whole seasons. Willie biggest accomplishment and what he is known for the best was the fact that he was the first black hockey player in the NHL . To state the obvious, the most harsh rule was that no black, brown, Asian people, and pretty much everyone except for the whites, were allowed to play hockey in the National Hockey League. Willie stood for his rights and brought justice to the black player and himself.
However, accomplishments come are after the hardships and obstacles. In order for him to fight for his rights, he had to go through many obstacles, For example, during the higher leagues that Willie was included in, he had a very difficult time joining since the rules were much more strict.. During his career stand in the NHL, he was involved in some violent moments with other players on other teams because they didn’t want Willie to play.
The fans also played a huge part in the racism because they “Booed” him when he was playing. He stayed strong throughout this time and developed so many personality traits Wayne Simmonds, Dustin Byfuglien, Trevor Daley, and P.K. Suban are only playing because of a very brave man who believed in no racism and broke the colour barrier in the NHL. Willie O’Ree was a very wise civilian. He didn’t cause any harm or violence when he was attempting to join the NHL. He just stated the obvious facts and brought justice to many people. O’Ree was persevered.
He didn’t let anyone bring him down. Willie was so inspirational to millions of people. Willie pretty much achieved the impossible. Most importantly, since Willie had joined the NHL, the Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association has destroyed the colour barrier for those sports. Willie O’Ree has taught many lessons to people about racism, respect, and many more.
Willie mastered respecting others. He was so loyal to everyone and their decisions, but he still stood up for the decisions that were wrong. In his head, he definitely remembered these quotes, “When life gives you challenges, push through them because it is possible” “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. In my opinion, people need to start looking around and recognizing people who needs attention.
There are over 100 million homeless people in the world and each and every single one of them have talents. Only rich people are getting these luxurious things but then they are forgetting about who needs it the most. I hope that people start appreciating more things, just like Willie O’Ree did.