City to celebrate Willie O'Ree's jersey retirement

Willie O'Ree

The City of Fredericton is holding a number of events to commemorate the retirement of Willie O'Ree's number 22 jersey by the Boston Bruins on February 18th.

Born in Fredericton, O'Ree became the first black person to play in the NHL when he debuted with the Bruins on January 18th, 1958.

The City says Mayor Mike O'Brien will declare January 18th as Annual Willie O'Ree Day at the February 8th Council Meeting to commemorate O'Ree's first NHL appearance.

On February 18th, when his jersey is retired in Boston, a commemorative O'Ree 22 flag will be raised at City Hall at 10:00 a.m., with a banner in O'Ree's honour raised to the rafters of Willie O'Ree Place later that evening.

Other planned events not spearheaded by the City of Fredericton include a plaque to be installed at O'Ree's childhood home at 212 Charlotte Street by the Fredericton Heritage Trust Board, a Cabin Restaurant special, and the release of the documentary Willie O'Ree Lessons in Social Justice and Racism.

The Fredericton Red Wings hope to be able to host a night full of highlights at their game on February 18th, but this is dependent on COVID-19 public health restrictions.