When Willie O’Ree stepped onto the ice on January 18, 1958, he wasn’t just making his National Hockey League® (NHL) debut—he was making history. Celebrate Black History Month with this pure silver tribute to Canadian-born hockey player Willie O’Ree, who became the first Black player to compete in the NHL. A story of courage and determination, O’Ree had to overcome discrimination and a competitive disadvantage to make his hockey dreams come true in the Original SixTM era. By breaking the league’s racial barrier, O’Ree’s legacy can’t be found in any scoring stats—it’s in the path he carved for future generations of Black players who left their own imprint on the game.
The reverse design re-creates a photograph of Hockey Hall of Fame member Willie O’Ree from his playing days with the Boston Bruins (1958, 1960-61). O’Ree’s signature is reproduced above his jersey number (“22”), while in the background, the Boston Bruins logo forms a repeating field pattern. The obverse features the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt.
- A Canadian Pioneer: Born and raised in Fredericton, N.B., Willie O’Ree broke racial barriers in the Original Six era by becoming the first Black player in the National Hockey League.
- Iconic Portrait: This coin’s reverse re-creates O’Ree’s photograph from his playing days with the Boston Bruins. In addition, his official signature has been placed over his sweater number ’22.’
- Officially Licensed Product: Our tribute to the former NHL player-turned-ambassador for diversity is an officially licensed product of the NHL and Hockey Hall of Fame.
Composition: 99.99% fine silver
Weight: 31.39 g
Diameter: 38 mm
Face Value: $20
Black clamshell with graphic beauty box and special certificate