Hockey Culture

Bruins retire Willie O’Ree’s jersey number 22

On Jan. 18, 1958, Willie O’Ree made history as the NHL’s first Black player, donning number 22 for the Boston Bruins. Now no other Bruins player will wear number 22 again, as the team retired Willie O’Ree’s jersey on Tuesday (Jan. 18, 2022).

Bruins retire Willie O’Ree’s number 22 jersey

Here’s video of the Bruins retiring number 22 in honor of Willie O’Ree, 86, who was unable to attend Tuesday’s game due to COVID concerns.

While Willie O’Ree was not on hand as the Bruins retired jersey number 22, he shared his heartfelt thoughts on the ceremony:

If you want to learn more about the impact Willie O’Ree made, NBC’s Hockey Culture series includes some great insight. The NHL also put together a great video sharing 22 facts about Willie O’Ree:

Back in 2018, O’Ree was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. It’s fantastic to see O’Ree receive both honors.

Oh, and in another delightful moment, David Pastrnak and the Bruins presented Willie O’Ree with a special fedora:

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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    NHL Rink Wrap: Five goals for Meier, Kraken no longer mired in losing streak

    NHL Rink Wrap: Five goals for Meier, Kraken no longer mired in losing streak
    Kavin Mistry/NHLI via Getty Images

    Top players from Monday in the NHL

    Timo Meier and some other Sharks

    This edition of the Monday NHL Rink Wrap presents a challenge. After all, you can’t really avoid marinating in a record-breaking night for Timo Meier and the San Jose Sharks. Yet, with there already being a post on those five (5) goals for Timo Meier, and eight games total on the Monday NHL schedule, it makes sense to spread the wealth, too.

    But, goodness, what a night by Timo Meier. Previously, multiple Sharks held the team record with four goals in a single game. Remarkably, Meier collected all five of those goals in the first two periods, including a hat trick in the opening frame. They won’t get the headlines, but Erik Karlsson (three assists, reached 500 helpers for his career) and Tomas Hertl (four assists) weren’t far behind him.

    And the Sharks can thank James Reimer (39 out of 41 saves) for not needing all five of those Meier goals. Overall, the Sharks reached six goals on just 17 shots on goal, with Meier firing six of those SOG.

    Brayden Schenn/Ivan Barbashev, Blues

    Speaking of not far behind Timo Meier, top Blues scorers from Monday were almost as worthy of NHL player of the night. In the case of Brayden Schenn and Ivan Barbashev, the two Blues forwards scored four points (2G, 2A) apiece. Ryan O'Reilly generated three points (1G, 2A) of his own.

    With Schenn and especially ROR, great results aren’t that surprising. But Barbashev’s been quite the revelation so far this season. (Congrats if you took a chance on him in your fantasy league, by the way.)

    After that four-point outburst, Barbashev’s at 34 points (15G, 19A) in 38 games. He’s already easily eclipsed his previous career-highs of 26 points, set in 2018-19 and 2019-20.

    Hot take: even if Barbashev is boosted by his linemates, the Blues have to be ecstatic that he only carries a $2.25M AAV through next season.

    NHL highlights from Monday

    Footage and analysis of that Timo Meier five-goal game from NBC Sports Bay Area:

    Next time your friend complains that you’re spamming wraparound goals in “NHL ’94,”* send them this Jake Guentzel goal. (Then run away/hang up before they can say “Yeah, but it barely ever happens.”)

    How long can you really go without a great Marc-Andre Fleury save? Can’t be more than a month (of active play), right?

    Ryan Donato, the person who scored the first Seattle Kraken goal, helped the team end a nine-game losing streak with this shootout tally:

    * – Please just allow me to imagine a world where people still play “NHL ’94” against each other, ideally on a saggy couch. OK?

    Monday NHL Takeaways

    Watch the Blues retire Chris Pronger’s number 44

    As memorable as Chris Pronger’s other stops ended up being, St. Louis is where he accomplished the extremely rare feat of winning a Hart Trophy as a defenseman.

    (Side note: it’s a crime Pronger, and while I mention it, Jarome Iginla, never ended up with a Conn Smythe. Then again, Pronger was a bit of a puck bandit himself.)

    Kraken end huge losing streak, Flyers’ skid extends to eight

    Heading into the 2021-22 NHL season, both the Flyers and Kraken boasted somewhat reasonable playoff hopes. (The Flyers, in particular, are spending with such expectations.)

    Welp.

    Each team is fairly deep into the point where fans are conflicted. Losing stinks, and watching a losing team is no fun. But every loss could help the Kraken and Flyers inch closer to the sort of draft lottery odds that might bring better hope in the future.

    Even so, there’s a cutoff point where you just want a little relief. The Kraken received that on Monday, ending their losing streak at nine games; with that, the Flyers now lead the NHL with a league-worst eight-game losing streak.

    In case you’re wondering, the Flyers haven’t won a single game since the calendar reached 2022. Maybe fittingly, the Flyers won their last game on Dec. 29 … by beating the Kraken in overtime.

    (Things aren’t a whole lot better for the Canadiens, either, as they dropped their sixth straight loss. And that loss came against the crummy Coyotes.)

    Maybe a 3-0 lead isn’t safe against the Penguins

    Entering the first intermission, the Golden Knights seemed like they might make a bit of a statement with a 3-0 lead against the Penguins. Apparently that statement was “maybe a 3-0 lead isn’t so safe against the Penguins?”

    It’s gotta sting a little bit extra that Jason Zucker (two goals) factored into the Penguins’ comeback against the Golden Knights. After all, Zucker grew up in Las Vegas, and there were early expansion rumors about the Golden Knights trying to bring in the local product.

    As cool as that story would have been, things seemed to work out for both Zucker and the Vegas Golden Knights. It just so happens that they worked out better for Zucker and the Penguins during the NHL action on Monday.

    Tuesday’s big story

    Bruins retire Willie O’Ree’s number 22

    When Willie O’Ree was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018, many of us reacted with some variation of “What took so long?” To some extent, the Bruins retiring Willie O’Ree’s number 22 on Tuesday captures a touch of that feeling, as well.

    That said, this is a very good thing, so better late than never.

    Also better late than never: check out this great “Hockey Culture” video series. A year ago, Willie O’Ree discussed the importance of MLK Jr. Day in the NHL.

    NHL scores from Monday

    Red Wings 3, Sabres 2 (OT)
    Avalanche 4, Wild 3 (SO)
    Coyotes 5, Canadiens 2
    Sharks 6, Kings 2
    Kraken 3, Blackhawks 2 (SO)
    Islanders 4, Flyers 1
    Blues 5, Predators 3
    Penguins 5, Golden Knights 3

    James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

    Hockey Culture: Mikki Allen looking to bring hockey to Tennessee State

    Welcome to Hockey Culture, the NBC Sports multi-platform content offering dedicated to bringing equality and inclusion to hockey. Led by NBC Sports’ Anson Carter, Hockey Culture addresses contemporary topics within the sport, aim to promote diversity around the game , and increase community engagement.

    Anson Carter sits down with Tennessee State Athletic Director Dr. Mikki Allen about the possibility of adding hockey to the HBCU, the logistics behind it and working with the Predators to advance the game in the state

    Subscribe to NBC Sports on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/nbcsports

    You can watch previous Hockey Culture episodes featuring Ryan Reaves, Julie Chu, Willie O’Ree, Zach Whitecloud, and more by clicking here.

    Hockey Culture: Mothers reflect on sacrifices to get sons to NHL

    Welcome to Hockey Culture, the NBC Sports multi-platform content offering dedicated to bringing equality and inclusion to hockey. Led by NBC Sports’ Anson Carter, Hockey Culture addresses contemporary topics within the sport, aim to promote diversity around the game , and increase community engagement.

    Jack and Quinn Hughes‘ mom, Ellen, Nick and Jason Robertson‘s mom, Mercedes, and Anson Carter’s mom, Valma, discuss their favorite moments as hockey moms and share why it’s so rewarding to see their sons play in the NHL.

    Subscribe to NBC Sports on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/nbcsports

    You can watch previous Hockey Culture episodes featuring Ryan Reaves, Julie Chu, Willie O’Ree, Zach Whitecloud, and more by clicking here.

    Hockey Culture: Rico Phillips, Dampy Brar unite communities to fight racism in hockey

    Welcome to Hockey Culture, the NBC Sports multi-platform content offering dedicated to bringing equality and inclusion to hockey. Led by NBC Sports’ Anson Carter, Hockey Culture addresses contemporary topics within the sport, aim to promote diversity around the game , and increase community engagement.

    Former Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award winners Rico Phillips and Dampy Brar join Anson Carter to explain how they’ve started inclusive programs within their communities to help fight racism in hockey.

    Subscribe to NBC Sports on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/nbcsports

    You can watch previous Hockey Culture episodes featuring Ryan Reaves, Julie Chu, Willie O’Ree, Zach Whitecloud, and more by clicking here.