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O’Ree, Duclair, James, and more

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It’s your Thursday edition of Links, News, & Notes

Anaheim Ducks v Ottawa Senators Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images

The Overtime Senators were up to their old tricks again Tuesday night, falling in a shootout to the Anaheim Ducks, and one has to wonder if the Sens will ever lose in regulation (or win) again. Now with the all-star game in the rearview and the trade deadline looming on the horizon, fans should soon have a better idea of Pierre Dorion’s plans for the next months. Is Pierre ready to hand the keys over to the kids? Will he keep some veterans around to insulate his young players? Have any of our beloved Senators played their last home games in Ottawa? Here’s some reading material to keep you distracted until Dorion gets the ball rolling.

  • This month, ESPN will be broadcasting the critically-acclaimed documentary Willie based on the life of hall-of-famer Willie O’Ree. Experiencing Jim Crow-era segregation first hand at a young age, O’Ree never got to live out his aspirations of playing professional baseball and pursued hockey instead. In 1958 O’Ree broke the NHL’s colour barrier as a member of the Boston Bruins and now serves as the NHL’s Diversity Ambassador.
  • CBC also ran an article recently with some thoughts from O’Ree on the current state of the NHL and the continuing issue of racism in sports and particularly in hockey. Not even halfway through the season, the NHL and AHL have already had to intervene because of blatantly racist verbal attacks. And as empowering as it is to see players speak up and tell their stories, they should never experience hatred in the first place.
  • Kristina Rutherford published a poignant article about the life and career of Angela James that I would implore all hockey fans to read. James used her turbulent childhood as motivation to become a world-class athlete and eventually represented Canada at several international tournaments. Cassie Campbell-Pascall and coach Daniele Sauvageau offer their insight into what made James such a dominant player and why her career should have had an even greater influence on hockey history.
  • The Senators very own Anthony Duclair penned an exceptional essay for the NHL last week. The Duke has some powerful quotes about his background, the current state of the NHL, and his aspirations for the future. As someone who has faced so many obstacles in his young career, Duclair has had every reason to give up and instead has persevered. He went from cast-off to all-star and that only makes it more inspiring to read his words. We are so fortunate to have people like Duclair using their platforms to promote such important ideas.
  • In more local news, Kanata’s Bob Dawson has worked tirelessly for years to promote the history of The Colored Hockey League and now Canada Post will issue a stamp to honour the 125th anniversary of the league’s inaugural season. Dawson has become a definitive historian of black hockey in the Maritimes and the rest of Canada since he first started his research in 2005. Also a talented collegiate player in his prime, Dawson has some brilliant insight into the contributions made to the sport by black players and into the resilience of those who had to, and who continue to, break down barriers.