The Barack Obama of the NHL

Amber McCormick
November 10 2008 07:30AM

You don’t know me but I know people. Even better, I know people who know people. Which is why you may not have heard, in your world of mediocrity, that Barack Obama became the first African-American President of the United States. I know, you’re in shock. I’ll give you a minute to process this recently unknown information... I’ll wait. Please don’t misinterpret my sarcastic tone. I’m am thrilled of Barack’s victory. I have all the faith in the world that this is the beginning of something truly extraordinary. I am, however, a smart enough woman to leave the political commentary to the professionals. The women of The View. 

Tuesday night’s media frenzy got me thinking. Why is there no documentation of a world wide celebration when Willie O’Ree became the NHL’s first black player? Sure he has a Wikipedia page, but who doesn’t these days? I figure if there is no statute of limitations for murder why should there be for something fun, like a celebration of hockey?!

It was a cold day, January 18, 1958 when New Brunswick native Willie O’Ree took the ice for his first of two games with the Boston Bruins. Despite being legally blind in one eye and facing relentless scrutiny and racism, O’Ree “just wanted to be a hockey player.”

In 1961 O’Ree returned to the NHL for 43 games in which he scored four goals and ten assists. After that, Willie left the NHL never to return. He played out his hockey career in the Western Hockey League.

After O’Ree there wouldn’t be another black NHL player for over a decade when, in 1974, Mike Marson (a fellow Canadian) wore the jersey for the Washington Capitals.

History is made every day, by everyday people. I think in this time of change and new beginnings it’s important to remember the trailblazers of the past whilst celebrating the heroes of today.

—Amber McCormick is the higher-pitched voice of The Nation. She is still in shock that she wrote an entire article without mentioning Penner’s dreamy eyes or Souray’s flowing locks. Oops.

Db1a966f04a8a472b0df900e5b7eeb29
Amber lives in Edmonton. Everyday she tries to do her part in preserving nature. Tomorrow she's pickling squirrels. Amber doesn't sweat the petty thing and she doesn't pet the sweaty things.
Avatar
#1 1011011
November 10 2008, 02:00PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

This is interesting Amber. What should be done? Isn't he in the HHOF?

Avatar
#2 Amber McCormick
November 10 2008, 04:22PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Sadly, no he is not. He was, however, inducted to the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame in 1984.

Avatar
#3 doritogrande
November 10 2008, 04:22PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

"You don’t know me but I know people. Even better, I know people who know people. Which is why you may not have heard, in your world of mediocrity, that Barack Obama became the first African-American President of the United States."

President Elect, you mean. Bush is still in charge for another couple of months. Americans can still do something to change this situation. They've done it before, no?

Avatar
#4 Amber McCormick
November 10 2008, 08:20PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I'm not going to get into a semantic argument about it but I believe you've missed the point and the larger picture.

Avatar
#5 Bruce
November 11 2008, 05:35PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

There was a little buzz about this past January on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of O'Ree's feat. I saw a couple of interviews and Willie came across as the salt o' the earth, a very likable old fellow without the slightest bit of a swelled head despite his rather significant claim to fame.

Don't know that he belongs in the Hall per se, but there should be a "pioneers section" to celebrate accomplishments like his. Maybe there is, I dunno, I've never been in the Hall.

Avatar
#6 Clayton
December 18 2008, 03:18PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Excellent writing! And I agree with your sentiments!

Comments are closed for this article.