Watch Bruins present Willie O’Ree with special gifts before number retirement

The Boston Bruins will celebrate a hockey legend Tuesday night when they retire Willie O’Ree’s No. 22 to the rafters at TD Garden during a special ceremony before taking on the Carolina Hurricanes.

It’s a well-deserved honor for O’Ree, who became the first Black player to play in an NHL game when he made his Bruins debut on this date, Jan. 18, in 1958 against the Montreal Canadiens. After his career ended, O’Ree has done and continues to do amazing work to make the sport more accessible and inclusive for everyone, especially in the youth hockey ranks. 

Out of an abundance of caution, O’Ree will participate virtually in his number retirement ceremony from his home in San Diego.

Bruins players took the time to meet with O’Ree as a team in a video call this week, and they presented him a few special gifts. 

Take a look in the video below: 

“You’ve inspired so many…on and off the ice…we’re so happy and proud for you.”

On Monday, our team gathered to congratulate Willie O’Ree and present him with a few surprises in honor of his No. 22 heading to the TD Garden rafters.#NHLBruins | #Willie22 pic.twitter.com/qALW0Dtwjz

— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) January 18, 2022

That’s a pretty sweet fedora.

O’Ree will be the 12th player in Bruins history to have his number retired, joining a group of icons that includes Bobby Orr and Ray Bourque.

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