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Tuesday's NHL: Bruins to retire Willie O’Ree’s jersey

Kyle Hightower
Associated Press

Boston — Willie O’Ree, who broke the NHL’s color barrier, is set have his jersey retired by the Boston Bruins.

O’Ree will have his No. 22 jersey honored prior to the Bruins’ Feb. 18 game against the New Jersey Devils, the team announced Tuesday. 

The Boston Bruins say they will retire the jersey of Willie O'Ree, who broke the NHL's color barrier. O'Ree will have his No. 22 jersey honored prior to the Bruins' Feb. 18 game against the New Jersey Devils.

He became the league’s first Black player when he suited up for Boston on Jan. 18, 1958, against the Montreal Canadiens, despite being legally blind in one eye. O’Ree played two seasons from the Bruins, retiring from professional hockey in 1979. 

He also donned No. 18 and No. 25 during his time with the Bruins but wore number 22 in the bulk of his games with the club. 

O’Ree, 85, becomes the 12th player in team history to have a sweater hung in the TD Garden rafters.

“Willie’s contributions to the game of hockey transcend on-ice accomplishments and have opened countless doors for players who have come after him. He is without question deserving of this honor,” Bruins president Cam Neely said in a statement.

With Massachusetts’ COVID-19 restrictions currently prohibiting fans from being in attendance at Bruins’ games, it is likely O’Ree will be honored without fans present at the Garden. But the team said once protocols allow, it plans to recognize him again so fans can be a part of it. 

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said though it’s not ideal, they didn’t want to delay honoring his contributions and will “pay tribute in the best fashion we possibly can.”


Colliton signs extension

Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton agreed to a two-year contract extension Tuesday on the eve of his third season with the team.

Colliton is 62-58-17 since he replaced Joel Quenneville in November 2018, becoming the 38th coach in franchise history. Chicago won a four-game series against Edmonton before being eliminated by Vegas.