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Willie O'Ree
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Willie O'Ree

Willie O'Ree (born October 15, 1935, in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada) was the first black athlete to play professional ice hockey in the National Hockey League (NHL).

Midway through his second minor league season with the Quebec Aces hockey team, Willie was called up to the Boston Bruins of the NHL to replace an injured player. Even though he was 95% blind in his right eye, Willie made his NHL debut with Boston on January 18, 1958, against the Montreal Canadiens, becoming the first black player in the league's history. He played roughly 45 games over the course of his two NHL seasons.

In 1984, Willie O'Ree was inducted into the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame.

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