Former Boston Bruins wing Willie O’Ree tips his hat as he is honored prior to a game in 2018. O’Ree broke the NHL’s color barrier in 1958. Charles Krupa/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.

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.

A 25-year-old left wing Willie O’Ree is shown in 1960. Associated Press

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.”

“Ideally, you want him shaking people’s hands in situations like this and really paying tribute and rightfully so to Willie,” Sweeney said. “It doesn’t diminish the overall effect of what Willie going into the rafters and retiring his number and what he’s meant to the game and the Boston Bruins.”

O’Ree was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame class of 2018 as part of the “Builder” category, which honors those who have made significant contributions to the sport.

He played 45 games in his NHL career for the Bruins, notching four goals and 10 assists.

Since 1998, O’Ree has worked for the NHL as a diversity ambassador.

SHARKS: Left wing Evander Kane has filed for federal Chapter 7 bankruptcy in California even though he is scheduled to make $3 million this season and has earned nearly $53 million over the course of his NHL career.

In bankruptcy documents dated Saturday and filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California, the 29-year-old native of Canada lists slightly more than $10 million in assets and nearly $27 million in liabilities, Nearly all of Kane’s assets are in the form of property, namely a $3 million home in San Jose and two houses in Vancouver, British Columbia, valued at a combined $5.26 million.

But the documents also show that Kane owes nearly $16 million in unpaid loans, plus more than $250,000 in unpaid federal and state taxes and nearly $80,000 in credit card charges.

Kane owes Newport Sports Management, his former agency, nearly $530,000 and also is involved in a nearly $1.3 million arbitration dispute with a company called Sure Sports, a financial services firm geared toward professional athletes that arranged an $8.3 million loan for Kane with Centennial Bank, according to The Athletic.

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. He guided Chicago into the postseason last year, winning a four-game series against Edmonton before being eliminated by Vegas.

Colliton’s extension runs through the 2022-23 season. The Blackhawks open this season on Colliton’s 36th birthday on Wednesday at Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay.

“Jeremy has shown an innate ability to develop young talent throughout his two seasons as head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks,” President of Hockey Operations Stan Bowman said in a release.


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