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Author: @MattyBruins

Boston Bruins History: Bruins Brawl in the Stands

The Boston Bruins and New York Rangers were bitter rivals in the ‘70s. The rivalry, at times, was just as intense as the rivalry between Boston and Montreal. On the night of December 23, 1979, closing in on the end of the decade, the Rangers hosted the Bruins at Madison Square Garden. They were having a good game, leading the Bruins 3-1 in the third. The Bruins came back, however, scoring three unanswered goals from Terry O’Reilly, Bobby Lalonde, and Stan Jonathan. They won the game 4-3. The comeback and how fast it happened caused a lot of anger. As a result, the fans became especially vocal and threw things onto the ice. A Physical Game The teams were physical throughout the night with a few fights and big hits. At the final buzzer Bruins left winger Al Secord tripped Rangers center Ulf Nilsson with his stick and chaos ensued. Nilsson had been badgered all night and this was the tipping point. John Davidson, the Rangers goalie, took issue with Secord and skated across the ice and hit him into the boards, starting a brawl. Terry O’Reilly climbs into the stands at Madison Square Garden, Dec. 23, 1979. The Fans Join In In addition to the fighting, a fan in the New York stands reached over the glass and hit Bruins left winger Stan “Bulldog” Jonathan in the face...

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NHL Lobbies for O’Ree Congressional Gold Medal

In January of 1958, against the rival Montreal Canadiens, Willie O’Ree made his NHL debut with the Boston Bruins. In doing so he became the first black player in the NHL. Now 61 years later, the NHL is lobbying for O’Ree, 83, to receive the Congressional Gold Medal. It’s the highest civilian award that Congress can give. Facing Racism O’Ree faced many hardships throughout his career. He had to put up with racist taunts from other players, as well as fans, on a regular basis. He once recounted that fans would yell things such as, “How come you’re not picking cotton?” and, “Go back to the South!” Yet Willie stood his ground and persevered. Between major and minor leagues O’Ree played 21 years, and he’s commonly described as “the Jackie Robinson of hockey”. 25-year-old left wing Willie O’Ree, the first black player of the National Hockey League, warms up in his Boston Bruins uniform, prior to the game with the New York Rangers, at New York’s Madison Square Garden, on November 23, 1960. (AP Photo) Hockey For Life After his playing career ended in 1979, Willie O’Ree stayed with hockey. He’s been the NHL’s Diversity Ambassador since 1998, promoting inclusion and confidence in youth hockey programs throughout North America. In 2018 the NHL created the annual Willie O’Ree award for the person who made a positive impact on their...

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