BOSTON – Willie O'Ree's No. 22 now has a permanent home in Boston's TD Garden.
The first Black player to appear in an NHL game, O'Ree became the 12th player in franchise history to have his number retired prior to the Bruins' matchup with the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night.
The honor came 64 years to the day after he became the league's first Black player on Jan. 18, 1958, when he suited up against the Montreal Canadiens. O'Ree was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the builder category in 2018.
“It was a memorable night,” O'Ree said. “I'm just thrilled and overwhelmed.”
In the game, Jesperi Kotkaniemi scored twice during Carolina's five-goal first period, Jaccob Slavin added a goal and two assists after a two-game absence, and the Hurricanes snapped the Bruins' five-game winning streak with a 7-1 victory.
No symptoms, no test needed
The NHL will stop testing asymptomatic players, coaches and staff who are fully vaccinated following the All-Star break in early February, saying coronavirus cases continue to decline across the league. The current policy will remain in place until the All-Star break begins Feb. 3.
There will still be testing of asymptomatic individuals when it is needed for crossing the U.S.-Canada border. Testing will not be required at All-Star Weekend, with one negative result needed to return to team facilities after the break.
Final All-Star rosters set
Centers Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Nazem Kadri of the Colorado Avalanche and Mika Zibanejad of the New York Rangers, and Anaheim winger Troy Terry won the final roster spots for All-Star Weekend as a result of fan voting, the NHL announced Monday.
The league said Zibanejad cannot attend the Feb. 4-5 event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas for personal reasons. He will be replaced by Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Jake Guentzel, who finished second in the Metropolitan Division voting. Stamkos will join the Atlantic Division team, Kadri goes to the Central Division squad, and Terry to the Pacific.
The event features a three-game tournament played in a 3-on-3 format, with 11-man teams from each of the league's four divisions.