NHL's O'Ree to be Inducted into the John McLendon Minority Athletics Administrators HOF|
CLEVELAND – The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) is proud to announce that the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Director of Youth Development for the NHL/USA Hockey Diversity Task Force, Willie O’Ree will be inducted into the John McLendon Minority Athletics Administrators Hall of Fame on the evening of June 19, 2009. The induction ceremony will be held in conjunction with the 44th Annual NACDA Convention at the Orlando World Center Marriott Resort.
On January 15, 1958, O’Ree became the first black player in the NHL when he debuted with the Boston Bruins. O’Ree was not unlike his pioneer counterparts in the respect that racial abuse was hurled at him on a nightly basis throughout his NHL career. And just like those who successfully broke the color barrier in other sports, O’Ree took the verbal abuse in stride and did not let it deter him from impacting positive change on the NHL. Because of that first step taken by O’Ree in the late 1950’s, there are now approximately 20 black players in a league that has struggled mightily over the years to diversify.
O’Ree, who was inducted into the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame in 1984, was selected by the NHL in 1998 to become the director of youth development for its NHL/USA Hockey Diversity Task Force, which is a non-profit program for minority youth that encourages them to learn and play hockey.
This year’s induction reception will also honor Anita DeFrantz, the first African-American and first American woman to serve on the International Olympic Committee (IOC); Dr. Bernard Franklin, NCAA Executive Vice President on NCAA Membership and Student-Athlete Affairs and Past President of three HBCU's; Gale Sayers, the first black Division I athletics director at Southern Illinois University; Gene Washington, the NFL’s Director of Football Operations and first black quarterback at Stanford; and Bob Watson, MLB’s Vice President of On-Field Operations and the first African-American MLB General Manager (Houston Astros). NACDA Past President and former Georgia Athletics Director Vince Dooley will be the recipient of the 2nd Annual Bud Selig Mentoring Award.
About the John McLendon Memorial Minority Postgraduate Scholarship Program: The John McLendon Memorial Minority Postgraduate Scholarship Awards are presented to senior-level minority students who intend to pursue a graduate degree in athletics administration. If you have any questions regarding this program, please visit www.mclendonminorityfoundation.com.
About NACDA: NACDA, now in its 44th year, is the professional and educational association for more than 6,500 college athletics administrators at more than 1,600 institutions throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. More than 2,300 athletics administrators annually attend the NACDA Convention. Additionally, NACDA administers 11 professional associations that come under the umbrella of the athletics director. For more information, visit www.nacda.com.