Mr. Speaker, Fredericton's new Northside Sports and Leisure Complex will officially be named Willie O'Ree Place on January 16.
Born and raised in Fredericton, Willie O'Ree is remembered as the first black player in the history of the National Hockey League.
Willie broke hockey's colour barrier when he was called up by the Boston Bruins to play against Montreal on January 16, 1958. Willie played pro-hockey for 21 seasons despite losing the sight in his right eye after being hit by a puck when he was 21 years old.
This 50th year anniversary celebration is fitting for a gentleman in the true sense of the word. Willie is the director of youth development for the NHL diversity task force. He has set a wonderful example in promoting tolerance and understanding.
Congratulations to Willie O'Ree. He has made Fredericton proud.