Before I discovered Willie O'Ree was the first black man to play in the National Hockey League, I knew him simply as the husband of my (soon to be) wife's best friend. Now I list him as a great humanitarian and a personal friend of mine. When I married Sue, Willie and his wife "stood up" for us at our wedding ceremony.
Now in his seventies, Willie is still active in professional hockey as the Director of Youth Development for NHL Diversity.
Willie harbored a secret which would have ended his career had it been known. He lost his right eye in a hockey puck mishap; still, he continued to play professionally for many years.
For more information on Willie and his hockey achievements, open the link below. It includes a biography and a video interview produced in Canada.