NHL Pioneer O’Ree To Be Featured On ‘Everybody Hates Chris’

By Tony McClean
Updated: August 2, 2007

NEW HAVEN, Ct. — For hockey fans throughout North America and the world, Willie O’Ree has been many things to many people. You can now add accomplished actor to his resume.

The NHL pioneer will film an episode of The CW Network’s “Everybody Hates Chris” on Thursday, August 9 in Los Angeles. The NAACP Image Award-winning show is inspired by the teenage experiences of comedian Chris Rock (who narrates the show), while growing up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn.

O’Ree is known best as the first black player in the National Hockey League history. He made his debut as a winger with the Boston Bruins on January 18, 1958 against the Montreal Canadiens.

He later became the Director of Youth Development for the NHL/USA Hockey Diversity Task Force, a non-profit program for minority youth that encourages them to learn and play hockey.

In the episode entitled “Everybody Hates Gretzky,” Chris (played by Tyler Williams) and his brother, Drew (played by Tequan Richmond) ditch school to meet his hockey hero, Wayne Gretzky, when the Edmonton Oilers visit the New York Islanders.

When they realize they are lost, they stop an older gentleman (played by O’Ree) for directions but also get a hockey history lesson.

An air date for the episode has not been set.