Stamp pays tribute to the first Black player of the National Hockey League®
EDMONTON – Canada Post issued a new commemorative stamp honouring the life and legacy of Willie O’Ree, the National Hockey League’s first Black player. The stamp was unveiled at an event Saturday, October 28, 2023 in Edmonton as part of the 2023 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic weekend festivities.
The stamp honoring O'Ree was designed to feature the uniform colors of the Boston Bruins.
O’Ree made history when he took the ice for the Boston Bruins® against the Montreal Canadiens® on January 18, 1958, at the Montréal Forum.
Following a trailblazing career, O’Ree has continued to inspire generations of Canadians, dedicating his life to promoting diversity and inclusion in hockey. His work encourages young people to follow their dreams despite obstacles or prejudice. In 2018, O’Ree was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame for his work on and off the ice, and the NHL has since created the Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award in his honor.
Present at the unveiling of the stamp were (left to right): Sarah Nurse of the PWHL Toronto team, Jeff Scott (Vice-President, Community Development and Industry Growth, NHL), Evander Kane of the Edmonton Oilers, former NHLers Grant Fuhr and Anson Carter, Doug Ettinger (President and Chief Executive Office, Canada Post), Brian Jennings (Senior Executive Vice-President, Marketing, and Chief Branding Officer, NHL), former NHLer Georges Laraque, and Nazim Kadri of the Calgary Flames.
About the stamp issue
Featuring a recent photo of O’Ree wearing his signature fedora cap and an inset photo of him in action on the ice in 1960, the stamp was designed in black and yellow to mirror his uniform colours while playing with the Boston Bruins between 1958 and 1961. The recent photo was taken by photographer Philip Cheung in O’Ree’s San Diego home. The stamp issue is cancelled in Fredericton, New Brunswick, where O’Ree was born and raised. Printed by Colour Innovations, the stamp issue includes a booklet of six Permanent™ domestic rate stamps and an Official First Day Cover.
The stamp and collectible are available for purchase at post offices from October 30 and are available now at store.canadapost.ca.
To read about the stamp in O'Ree's own words, click here.
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