Saturday, November 17, 2007

If the Pens are looking for courage they found it

Willie O'Ree To Attend Pens' Practice, Game

The Jackie Robinson of hockey gave a few words to the Penguins today. I would be very disappointed if they don't come out of the gates with a lot of passion tonight against Jammer Jagger and the Rag$.

Hockey is a sport dominated by whites and many of the black players have had a tough road of bigotry and hatred to deal with. Willie O'Ree, a living legend, paved the way for them all.

Obviously no one on the Penguins understands this more than black French-Canadian Georges Laraque who dealt with his share of adversity and ignorance but still continues to still carve his mark in the NHL. Take time to remember that it's not just in the South that blacks have had to overcome racism.

There are a lot of trailblazers in the world of sports, and I think we are all lucky to count the very under-appreciated Willie O'Ree among us.

I feel like this day should make a huge impact on the Penguins, especially the young nucleus of players under 22 or 23 years old (including Evgeni Malkin who understands more English than you might give him credit for).

Good work and thank you Willie, you opened the gates for a lot of people to follow and have a good reason to be proud of what you've accomplished. The hurdles of ignorance you've overcome won't be forgotten soon.

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