The Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League will be honoring hockey Hall of Famer Willie O'Ree prior to their game against the Vancouver Canucks on Nov. 24 at the Staples Center. O'Ree becomes the first person honored by the Kings who never played or worked for the organization.
O'Ree was the first black player ever to play in the NHL. He played 45 career games with the Boston Bruins (two in 1957-58 and 43 in 1960-61). However, he also played 15 seasons of professional hockey in southern California. O'Ree was with the Los Angeles Blades for six seasons from 1961-1967.
O'Ree is being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder. He has been the NHL's Diversity Ambassador since 1998, and this past year the NHL created the Willie O'Ree Community Hero Award with the late Humboldt Broncos head coach Darcy Haugan as the first winner.
On Nov. 24, the Kings will be playing a Vancouver Canucks franchise which is shocking the hockey world. The Canucks were supposed to be near the basement in the Pacific Division, but instead, have 21 points and are in first place. They currently lead the Calgary Flames and San Jose Sharks by two points. The Canucks leading scorer has been their standout rookie, Elias Pettersson, who has 10 goals and seven assists for 17 points in only 11 games. Pettersson could be considered a legitimate rookie of the year candidate.
The Kings beat the Anaheim Ducks on Nov. 6 by a score of 4-1. It was the first game for new Kings head coach Willie Desjardins. Ilya Kovalchuk led the Kings in scoring with three points (one goal and two assists). Other Kings players with a multi-point game were Tyler Toffoli (one goal and one assist) and Alec Martinez (two assists). Dustin Brown and Kyle Clifford also scored for the Kings, while goaltender Jack Campbell made 30 saves. It was also a memorable game for Campbell, who recorded his first NHL career assist.
In other Kings news, Adam Oates has joined the Kings as a consultant. Like O'Ree, a hockey Hall of Famer, Oates is seventh all-time in NHL assists with 1079. In 1992-93, Oates had 97 assists in one season with the Bruins.
In the community, the Kings are proud to announce that they raised $40,000 from their Hockey Fights Cancer night on Nov. 3 against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Then on Nov. 8 for the Kings game against the Minnesota Wild, the Kings honored the victims of the Thousand Oaks tragedy by wearing "Enough" stickers. The proceeds of the 50/50 raffle from the game was donated to the Ventura County Family Foundation and the amount was matched by the Kings players. On Nov. 7 in Thousand Oaks, CA, 12 people were killed by a gunman at the Borderline Bar and Grill. Another 22 people were injured.
Get your Tickets to see the Los Angeles Kings and the Vancouver Canucks on Nov. 24 at Staples Center today!