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Lofty Goal

Fifty years ago, despite an astonishing disability, Willie O'Ree joined the Boston Bruins and became the NHL's first black player, only to endure vicious slurs and see his dream end abruptly. Today, back in the game that made him who he is, can he change hockey once more?

When he's asked how good he could have been if things had played out differently, Willie O'Ree says: 'I think I could have been an all-star.' At right, O'Ree as a Bruin. (Photo at left by Robert Benson; photo at right provided by NHL Images) When he's asked how good he could have been if things had played out differently, Willie O'Ree says: "I think I could have been an all-star." At right, O'Ree as a Bruin.
By Devon O'Neil
December 9, 2007

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IN 1996, WITH THE NATIONAL Hockey League as white as ever, league executives searching for ways to increase youth participation decided to direct their efforts at minorities. The NHL's vice president of new business development, a black man from Ontario named Bryant McBride, came up with a number of ideas to make that happen. One was to bring together inner-city ... (Full article: 4040 words)

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