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Black History Story: Willie O'Ree
Updated: 2/20/2020
Black History Story: Willie O'Ree
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Storyboard Text

  • As a child, Willie O'Ree was always obsessed with hockey. Whenever he was done his homework, Willie turned on his TV and watched NHL games. He loved rooting for his local hockey team, the New Brunswick Hawks. However, he noticed that there were no people of colour in the NHL. Willie felt that he could do something to change this. Little did he know that when he grew up, he would become the first black hockey player in the NHL..
  • When Willie O'Ree first joined the NHL, he was very excited to play on a professional team. However, he was not aware of the risks that came with being a black player in a sport dominated by white people. The more that he played, the more threats and racist remarks he received. Willie realised that it would be very difficult to be part of a league that is attributed with many stereotypes against people of certain ethnicity or culture. Many people were surprised that Willie was allowed in the league, since he had been the first black NHL player.
  • Willie began to question whether he was actually good enough for the NHL. Every time he played, he got more hate comments than compliments. Despite the increasing pressure being put on Willie, he persevered, and deliberated that he would continue to work on his skills until he became the best hockey player that ever played. However, he understood that it wouldn't be easy to accomplish. Willie would have to train much harder if he wanted to make his dreams come true.
  • Willie was determined to become a better player, and he displayed that at his practices. He was extremely aggressive, and would stop at nothing to help his team win a game. The more games he won with his team, the more respect he gained. Eventually, people started to accept that Willie deserved respect, regardless of his race or culture. His skill began to drastically improve, and all of the support he received from his fans inspired him to play harder and better each game.
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