LA Kings Honor Willie O'Ree

LA Kings Put Spotlight On Willie O’Ree

The Los Angeles Kings honored the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by honoring the man who broke the color barrier in the NHL. Willie O’Ree, who debuted in 1958 with the Boston Bruins, received the red-carpet treatment before the Kings’ game against the Tampa Bay Lightning Monday. O’Ree, who played 19 years of professional hockey, dropped the ceremonial puck and took part in several other pre-game festivities. He was, admittedly, flattered by the recognition but hopes the NHL can advance to a different level when it comes to minorities in the sport. “When I get up in the morning and look in the mirror, I don’t see a black man or a brown man. I just see a man,” said O’Ree, who, at 81, serves as the league’s director of youth development and an ambassador for the NHL’s diversity program. “Basically, that’s what these fans have to [see]. They’re just another hockey player.”