USA Hockey Magazine

August 2018

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AUGUST 2018 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM // 7 NHL All-Rookie Team Has Red, White And Blue Feel I t's rare to see a player with only 45 games and 14 career points on his NHL resume earn a place in the Hockey Hall of Fame, but few players have had as much of an impact on the game as Willie O'Ree. It's been 60 years since O'Ree broke the color barrier when he suited up for the Boston Bruins on Jan. 18, 1958, at the Montreal Forum. But it's what he's done since then that makes him richly deserving of being enshrined in hockey's most hallowed hall. For the past 20 years O'Ree has been the face of the Hockey Is For Everybody movement in his role as the director of youth development and ambassador for the NHL diversity program. Over the years he has been the living embodiment of that phi- losophy as he crisscrosses North America encouraging kids to play the game. The ultimate reward for all he's done for the game came on June 26 when he received the call that he is part of the Class of 2018 that will be enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame in the builders category with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on Nov. 12. J o i n i n g O ' R e e a n d B e t t m a n w i l l b e g o a l - tender Ma r tin Brodeur, forward Martin St. Louis, Canadian women's team player Jayna Hefford and Russian star Alexander Yakushev. "Being inducted in the Hall of Fame just opens the door for just thousands of kids, kids of colors, white kids, brown kids, green kids," O'Ree said. "It gives them the opportunity to be able to play the sport if they want to. We're just opening up the doors and saying, 'Here, you can play a sport where you never had the opportunity to play before.'" Even at 82 years old, O'Ree is busier than he's ever been. Over the past decade, he has traveled thousands of miles across North America helping to establish 39 local grassroots hockey programs, all g eared towards serving economically disadvantaged youth. "There are a select few about whom it can truly be said: 'He changed the game.'" Bettman sa i d i n a st a t e m e n t . " W i l l i e O'Ree is among that select few." Hall Doors Open For Man Who Opened Game To So Many THE U.S. YOUTH MOVEMENT continues to march through the NHL as evidenced by another impressive showing of homegrown talent named to the league's All- Rookie team. For only the second time, four Americans were honored among the game's best newcomers, led by Brock Boeser of the Vancouver Canucks and Arizona Coyotes' Clayton Keller, who were in the run- ning for this year's Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie. New York Islanders rookie Mathew Barzal came out on top in the Calder voting that featured six Americans in the top 10. Boeser ranked second among rookies with 29 goals despite miss- ing the last month of the season, while Keller's 65 points marked the most by a Coyotes rookie since the club relocated to Arizona. They were joined by defensemen Will Butcher of the New Jersey Devils and Boston Bruins Charlie McAvoy. Butcher led all rookie defensemen with 39 assists, while McAvoy paced all rookie blueliners in ice time. The only other time four Americans have made the all-rook- ie team was in 2000 when Mike York, Scott Gomez, Brian Boucher and Brian Rafalski were lauded. Willie O'Ree continues to blaze trails that help others discover their love of the game. Beckham Johnston shows off his prize after sinking a putt to help raise money for young transplant recipients. k The hockey community is always active in helping out with good causes and that was the case in July at the University of Michigan Transplant Golf Classic, which creates scholarships for young transplant recipients to attend Camp Michitanki. At the event, attendees had the opportunity to take part in a putting contest using hockey sticks instead of a putter. For a $10 donation, participants had the chance to putt three balls in hopes of getting one in the hole and winning a USA Hockey prize. Beckham Johnston was one of the winners as he nailed his third putt to take home a prize. PUTTING FOR A PURPOSE COMMUNITY HOF

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