Event to honour former NHL hockey player Willie O’Ree postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions
An event to honour former NHL hockey player Willie O’Ree has been postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The City of Fredericton had planned to hold a retirement ceremony and flag raising on Jan. 18, also known as Willie O’Ree Day.
However, when New Brunswick announced the move to Level 3 of its COVID-19 Winter Plan the city was forced to reschedule for a later date when public gatherings will once again be permitted.
“While we're very disappointed about the postponement of the Willie O’Ree Day events, it’s important the City of Fredericton follow the guidelines set out by public health,” said Fredericton Mayor Kate Rogers.
“Mr. O’Ree deserves a full audience for his accomplishments and I look forward to celebrating with fellow Frederictonians when that day comes.”
In 1958, O’Ree became the first Black person to play in the NHL, breaking the league’s colour barrier during his debut with the Boston Bruins.
Now, the team will retire O’Ree’s number 22 jersey and honour his Hockey Hall of Fame career at 8 p.m. AT on Tuesday, Jan. 18, prior to their game against the Carolina Hurricanes. O’Ree plans to participate virtually from his home in San Diego.
O’Ree’s is the 12th number the Boston Bruins will have retired in the history of the franchise, which has been in existence since 1924.