January 18, 1958

damn, I meant to post when this showed up on Twitter this morning, but the day got away from me. I knew about Willie O'Ree and had favorited the clipping below on Flickr a long time ago, from the photostream (actually stream of tons of cool scanned vintage stuff, with a focus on African-American history) of vieilles_annonces. but I didn't realize that O'Ree's debut in the NHL (becoming the first black player in league history) was on January 18, 1958, with the Bruins in a game against the Montreal Canadiens.

here's his Wikipedia entry. when I learned Boston had the first black player in the NHL I'd already read Shut Out: A Story of Race and Baseball in Boston, which tells how the Red Sox were the last MLB team to have a black player. I don't downplay the racial problems Boston has had at all, but feel the city has been an easy target as a racially troubled Northern city when Chicago and many other cities hardly have a better history. this is getting off-topic for this blog I suppose, but I highly recommend Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North (and a lot of other books if you see my Goodreads link on the blogroll).

also, Kat of Kat's Stupid Hockey Sketches blog had a post today (I liked her explanation/disclaimer). (I've had the urge to get back into visual art due to my hockey obsession. I can barely draw, so I've got some much more abstract ideas...)


Forklift said...

O'Ree being mentioned on a blog with Hawks content needs mention of the Nesterenko incident.
Of course, anyone who knows Nesterenko knows he hit O'Ree with his stick because he was a Boston Bruin.

k of c said...

Ah, thanks for the info--I also have readers who know a lot of Bruins history. I was in a hurry and can't claim to have read a lot before I posted this, though I had read about him before...