A new documentary about Willie O’Ree, titled “Willie,” will be released in 2019.
The documentary will follow O’Ree’s journey to the Hockey Hall of Fame, including looking back at how his family escaped slavery in the 1779 and settled in New Brunswick where, generations later, O’Ree grew up and learned to play hockey.
O’Ree, now 83, broke the NHL’s colour barrier when he skated in a game for the Boston Bruins in 1958, paving the way for generations of black athletes to play hockey professionally.
Since 1994, O’Ree has been a diversity ambassador for the NHL and on Nov. 12 he was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a builder.
According to the film’s website, the doc “is a testament to the resilience and determination of a man empowered by his family’s legacy, and the people he has inspired along the way.”
It features interviews with Wayne Gretzky, Wayne Simmonds, Devante Smith-Pelly and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, among others, who talk about how O’Ree’s historic NHL debut 60 years ago changed the game forever.