Today in Hockey History: Willie O’Ree Debuts for Boston Bruins

Willie O'Ree Debuts

Hockey is finally back! Normally we’d be closing in on the mid-way point of the regular season, however, we’re in a different world. Last Word on Hockey is still going to look back at each date’s historical significance to the game. We’ll remember the moments that shaped the sport of hockey that happened on this day. Here’s our look at this date in hockey history for January 18th, whe Willie O’Ree debuts.

Today in Hockey History

Willie O’Ree Debuts

1958: The Boston Bruins forward plays in his first game to become the first black player in the NHL against the Montreal Canadiens. There had been black players in college hockey such as Done Seale with Clarkson University. O’Ree plays on a line with Don McKenney and Jerry Toppazzini, but doesn’t score.

He’s sent down to the minors after two games, but returns in 1960-61 and scores four goals and 14 points in 43 games. O’Ree is traded to Montreal, but never plays a game with them. He retires from hockey in 1979 and ins the NHL in 1998 as director of youth development for the League’s diversity task force.

Other Notable Events

1945: The Detroit Red Wings game with the New York Rangers at Olympia Stadium is delayed until 11:15 p.m. due to bad weather. A crowd of 7,687 see the Detroit 7-3 win that ends at 12:56 p.m.

1964: Red Wings goalie Terry Sawchuk passes George Hainsworth on the all-time shutout list with his 95th all-time. Sawchuk makes 36 saves in a 2-0 win over host Montreal.

Dean Prentice scores three goals and assists on three more as the Toronto Maple Leafs post an 11-0 shutout over Boston. Andy Hebenton also gets three goals in the largest shutout win in team history.

1967: The NHL holds their first mid-season All-Star Game in history. John Ferguson scores twice as the Canadiens blank the All-Stars, 3-0.

1973: The expansion New York Islanders beat the Stanley Cup champions, 9-7, in a rare highlight for the team. New York withstands a four-goal game from John Bucyk to snap a 12-game losing streak.

2000: Steve Yzerman scores his 614th goal in a 6-1 loss to the Calgary Flames. Yzerman’s tally gives him the most goals scored by a player with just one team.

2002: Detroit’s Luc Robitaille scores his 611th goal during a 3-1 victory against the Washington Capitals. He passes Bobby Hull to become the highest-scoring left wing in league history.

2018: The Vegas Golden Knights become the fifth team to win 30 games in their first NHL season. Vegas beats the Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-1, for their 30th win in 44 games.

Happy Birthday to You

1888: Thomas Sopwith

1915: Syl Apps

1960: Mike Blaisdell

1961: Mark Messier

1963: Dean Kennedy

1965: Andrew McBain

1979: Brian Gionta; Ruslan Fedotenko

1990: Alex Pietrangelo

1991: Ryan Carpenter

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