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Willie O’Ree joins Pride ownership group

Montreal Canadiens Vs Boston Bruins At TD Garden Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Former Boston Bruins legend and Hockey Hall of Famer Willie O’Ree has joined the ownership group for the Boston Pride, the PHF announced Thursday evening.

“This is a really exciting day for the Boston Pride and we are honored to welcome Willie, an iconic hockey pioneer, to our ownership group,” said Miles Arnone, Chair and Principal Owner of the Boston Pride, in the league’s release. “Willie is a true hockey trailblazer that has given so much of his life to the sport. His mission is reflected in our values as an organization and as a league that strives to grow the game for everyone.”

O’Ree became the first Black player in the NHL in 1958 with the Boston Bruins, and recently had his number retired by the organization. The Canadian hockey player has received both the Order of Canada and the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal, the two highest awards afforded to civilians in Canada and the United States, for his contributions to the game of hockey. He was also key in establishing the NHL’s often-quoted “Hockey is For Everyone” initiative.

NHL Black History Month Truck Tour Photo by Juan Ocampo/NHLI via Getty Images

“It is a thrill for me to extend my involvement in the sport and community that are such special parts of my life,” said O’Ree. “The growth of the women’s game is so important, and I admire these world class athletes for being role models who are making a difference for younger generations. I have always received tremendous love and support in Boston. I’m proud to be a member of the Pride and look forward to cheering these women on as they compete for another championship.”

The Pride become the second team to modify its ownership group, just days after the sale of the Toronto Six to a group led by trailblazers Angela James, Anthony Stewart, Bernice Carnegie, and Ted Nolan.