President Biden to award Congressional Gold Medal to hockey legend Willie O’Ree

President Biden on Monday signed a bill awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to Willie O’Ree, the first Black player in the National Hockey League.

The medal, the nation’s highest civilian honor, will be awarded to Mr. O’Ree for his “extraordinary contributions and commitment to hockey, inclusion and recreational opportunity.”

Mr. Biden signed the bill just days after the House passed a bipartisan bill to award the medal to Mr. O’Ree in a 426-0 vote. The Senate unanimously passed the same bill in July.

Earlier this year, the Boston Bruins retired O’Ree’s number, 22.

Mr. O’Ree broke the NHL’s color barrier in 1958 with the Bruins. All told, he played 45 games across two seasons, with four goals and 10 assists.

Dubbed the “Jackie Robinson of hockey,” Mr. O’Ree has said he was not aware that he had broken the NHL color barrier until he read it in the newspaper the next day.

Mr. O’Ree, 86, serves as the NHL’s director of youth development and an ambassador for NHL diversity, a post he has held for more than two decades.

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