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Willie: The Game Changing Story of the NHL's First Black Player

Book By Willie O'Ree & Michael McKinley
2020
Posted By Andres Larranaga

Willie: The Game Changing Story of the NHL's First Black Player

Willie: The Game-Changing Story of the NHL’s First Black Player looks at the life of Willie O'Ree, who made NHL history during the civil rights era.

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Willie: The Game-Changing Story of the NHL’s First Black Player is a memoir that focuses on the life of Willie O’Ree and his inspirational start to his professional career with the Boston Bruins. The year was 1958. The date, January 18. O’Ree made his playing debut against the Montreal Canadiens, making him the league’s first black player. Given the times, things were not easy. He became the target of name-calling, stick swinging and at times the team even had to be escorted to their bus by police. In most recent years, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. His legacy continues today with his help in the NHL’s Diversity Program. His story and all the struggles he’s faced to get to where he is today are found in this book.

Willie: The Game Changing Story of the NHL's First Black Player's Relation To Sport Business

How does Willie: The Game-Changing Story of the NHL’s First Black Player relate to sport? It’s as simple as being about real player Willie O’Ree. In it, we read about the struggles he faced as the first black player in the NHL. Having joined the NHL during the civil rights era, we see firsthand what racism was like in a major league. There are stories recounted of abuse from fans and other teams.

It’s an issue that’s all too common in sport. Today, there are more chances of that type of behaviour being punished. But back then, it was a lot harder. Some things, O’Ree even had to keep quiet about to avoid becoming an even bigger target. At times, his team also needed police escorts to their bus after games. It is through Willie O’Ree’s eyes that we see the life of an athlete isn’t always as great as it seems. But, his impact has paved the way for young black athletes to follow their dreams, just as he did. 

Willie: The Game Changing Story of the NHL's First Black PlayerSport Industry Areas Touched

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Willie: The Game Changing Story of the NHL's First Black Player Industry Endorsements

Willie: The Game Changing Story of the NHL's First Black Player has been suggested to us by sport industry professionals we talk to on a regular basis. See a list of those individuals below.

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Why read Willie: The Game Changing Story of the NHL's First Black Player?

Reading and learning about any major athlete is always interesting. In Willie: The Game-Changing Story of the NHL’s First Black Player we hear directly from Willie O’Ree. We learn about his experience with racism and his career in the NHL. Many of today's generation admit they hadn't heard of O'Ree until the release of this book. And, that it was not a disappointing read. For fans of hockey and of the Boston Bruins, this book takes a look back at a historic moment not just in hockey, but in sport. It’s an inspirational memoir that will not soon be forgotten by readers and open your eyes to the difficulties some players face in the form of racism. It’s a must-read, so pick up a copy as soon as you can!

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