The NHL has announced a new award to be given out annually, named the Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award. It will be given to the a person not affiliated with the league or any club, who “best utilizes hockey as a platform for participants to build character and develop important life skills for a more positive family experience.”
The award is named after Willie O’Ree, the NHL’s first black player who has spent decades working to bring the sport of hockey to those who may not normally be exposed to it or able to afford to play. O’Ree was honored this year on the 50th anniversary of his NHL debut—suiting up for the Boston Bruins on January 18th, 1958.
- Several players have announced their intention to play at the upcoming World Championships, including Thomas Chabot (Canada), Chris Kreider (USA) and Casey Mittelstadt (USA). The tournament is loading up on talent this season, perhaps in part as a response to the lack of Olympics participation. The teams should be filled with talent, as others like Connor McDavid and Mathew Barzal have already expressed interest.
- Tyler Benson and Dmitri Samorukov will be joining the Bakersfield Condors for the end of the season, but Kailer Yamamoto will not. The Edmonton Oilers’ first-round pick from 2017 suffered an injury in the WHL playoffs and will focus on his health instead. Yamamoto played just nine games with the Oilers at the beginning of the season, meaning he won’t burn a year of his entry-level contract. Watch for him to make an impact at training camp next fall, and try to secure a full-time roster spot.