Momentum growing in effort to get Willie O'Ree into Hockey Hall of Fame

There's growing momentum in a push by friends and fans of Willie O'Ree push to have the groundbreaking hockey player inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

In January, ceremonies were held to mark the 60th anniversary of when O'Ree stepped onto the ice as a member of the Boston Bruins, becoming the first black player in the National Hockey League.

Brenda Sansom, a friend in O'Ree's hometown of Fredericton, says the anniversary sparked the effort to see O'Ree inducted into the Hall of Fame as a builder.

She says O'Ree opened the door to black players and other players of colour, and at the age of 82 continues to work with children as the NHL's diversity ambassador and through the Hockey is for Everyone program.

Sansom says she's getting a flood of letters in support of the nomination, and the lobby of Fredericton City Hall will be open on March 5 for four days to gather signatures and comments.

The submission must be sent to the Hall of Fame by March 15, but it will be June before it's known if it passes the selection process.

Reached at his home in California, O'Ree says he'll wait and see what happens, but would be thrilled to make it into the Hall of Fame.