Friday, July 26, 2002

Willie O'Ree to appear at Jarome Iginla Hockey School


Calgary, AB - The National Hockey League and the Calgary Flames today announced that Willie O'Ree will visit the first annual Jarome Iginla Hockey School in Calgary. O'Ree, the NHL's first black player and Director of Youth Development, NHL Diversity, will serve as a guest instructor on July 29- 30.

The NHL has secured six scholarships for local youngsters to attend the hockey camp. NHL Diversity provides support and unique programming to not-for-profit youth hockey organizations across North America that are committed to offering economically disadvantaged boys and girls of all ages opportunities to play hockey.

Since joining the NHL in 1998, O'Ree has traveled throughout North America encouraging children to get involved in hockey and maintain an academic focus in their lives. O'Ree also regularly participates in hockey clinics across North America with current and former NHL players.

During his professional hockey career, which spanned 21 seasons in the NHL and Western Hockey League, O'Ree amassed 1,022 points. The winger, known for his speed and checking prowess, twice led the Western Hockey League in goals scored. On January 18, 1958, O'Ree became the first black player in the history of the NHL when he made his debut with the Boston Bruins.

Shawn Belle, a 17-year-old defenseman with the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League, also will visit the camp as a guest instructor. Belle, considered a top NHL prospect, scored 18 points and had a +4 plus/minus rating for the 2001-02 season. He will join O'Ree and Iginla during the school's on-ice sessions before reporting to Team Canada's National Under-18 Team Summer Development Camp in Calgary on August 1.

The inaugural Jarome Iginla Hockey School, a non-profit organization with proceeds to benefit Diabetes Research Association (Foothills), is held at Centennial Arenas in Calgary, July 29th - August 2nd.