Jersey No. 22 'retired' in honor of  Willie O'Ree!

The Boston Bruins honored Willie O'Ree on Tuesday night by retiring his No. 22 in honor,  being the league's first Black player.

O'Ree said "From a young age, my heart and my mind were set on making it to the NHL. I'm grateful and honored that it was with the Bruins." 

On Jan. 18, 1958, O'Ree, became the first black player in the National Hockey League's all-white league when he played for the Boston Bruins against the Montreal Canadiens.

Over the course of two seasons, he appeared in 45 NHL games, all with the Boston Bruins (1957-58, 1960-61).

Since Rick Middleton's No. 16 was retired in 2018, O'Ree is the first Bruins player to have his number retired after being a member of the team for 12 years.

Originally scheduled for February 18, 2021, O'Ree's number retirement was postponed due to COVID-19 fan capacity limitations.

The Hockey Hall of Fame inducted O'Ree in 2018.

To honor Willie O'Ree, the Bruins donned commemorative Willie O'Ree patches on their uniforms, with the number 22 embroidered within their emblem and the dates of his two NHL seasons below.

Outside the arena, there was a raucous celebration as well. "Willie O'Ree Day" was recognized by the city of Boston on the 18th of January.

O'Ree's moment was also hailed by NHL players of color.