PROBLACK HOCKEY BLOG
A group of Fredericton residents is working hard to get Willie O'Ree into the Hockey Hall of Fame 60 years after he broke the colour barrier in the National Hockey League.
O'Ree, now 82, became the first black hockey player on an NHL team when he played his first game with the Boston Bruins 61 years ago.
Brenda Sansom has known O'Ree for about 25 years in friendship developed over cups of coffee in a local gathering spot. She said she and many others want to see him inducted into the Hall of Fame.
"On the occasion of the 60th year, they had a wonderful celebration in Boston," said Sansom, adding that stories and columns published at the time and after led to the push to get O'Ree inducted.
So far, the group has gathered 50 letters of support, including one from Karl Subban, father of P.K. Subban, the Nashville Predators defenceman.
"The bulk of our submission is coming along nicely," said Sansom.
Sansom said the strategy to get O'Ree into the Hockey Hall of Fame is to reach people at high levels of hockey but also people in the community who can speak about the impact O'Ree had on not only hockey, but the community as a whole.
She doesn't know why O'Ree isn't in the Hall of Fame already but said the support for a citizens submission to make it happen has been overwhelming.
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