Hilary Knight wears Willie O’Ree-inspired skates at Dream Gap Tour game

Wayne Simmonds sits down with Christine Simpson to talk about how Willie O’Ree inspired him to play hockey and diversity in the game.

Hilary Knight has joined her counterparts in the NHL in honouring Willie O’Ree as part of Black History Month.

During the Dream Gap Tour’s return to action Saturday, the American women’s hockey star sported skates with custom graphics celebrating the achievements and life of the NHL’s first Black player.

Several NHL players unveiled the skates earlier this month, which were designed and inspired by Terry Smith of Terry Smith Creations, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Wayne Simmonds, European-based forward J.T. Brown, and Eustace King, an NHLPA agent.

The design features an image of O’Ree, his No. 22 and phrases related to the equality movement.

O’Ree, a native of Fredericton, made his NHL debut in 1958 with the Boston Bruins. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018.

The Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association kicked off its second touring event in New Jersey. It will play again Sunday at Madison Square Garden before heading to Chicago next week.

With files from The Canadian Press

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