As part of Black History in Hockey Night, the Capitals honored Hockey Hall of Famer and NHL pioneer, Willie O’Ree, and civil rights leader and U.S Representative, John Lewis. On Tuesday evening prior to the Capitals-Senators game at Capital One Arena, O’Ree and Lewis participated in the ceremonial puck drop with Capitals Captain Alex Ovechkin and Senators player, Mark Borowiecki.
O’Ree, a native of Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, began his hockey career in the 1954-55 season with the Quebec Frontenacs of the Quebec Provincial Junior A Hockey League. His career culminated with the San Diego Hawks of the Pacific Hockey League in the 1978-79 season.
O’Ree is best known for becoming the first black player to appear in an NHL game on January 18, 1958 with the Boston Bruins. He appeared in one additional game that season and played in 43 more games with the Bruins during the 1960-61 season, scoring four goals and 14 points. O’Ree was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018 in the Builders category.
Lewis, was a prominent leader in the civil rights movement, including being one of the organizers of the March on Washington in 1963. Lewis has also served as a member of Congress, representing Georgia’s 5th Congressional District since 1987.
As part of Black History Month, the NHL’s American Legacy Black Hockey History Tour’s mobile museum will be located at the Canadian embassy in Washington, D.C. The 525 square foot mobile museum will be open to the public from February 25 to 27. Admission is free and will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.