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Pure Silver Coin – Honouring Black History Month: Willie O'Ree - Mintage: 5,500 (2020)

Pure Silver Coin – Honouring Black History Month: Willie O'Ree - Mintage: 5,500 (2020)

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Mintage: 5,500
Canada and US only
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In Honour of Black History Month, the Royal Canadian Mint has proudly designed a 99.99% pure silver tribute to NHL trailblazer Willie O'Ree.

When Willie O'Ree stepped onto the ice on January 18, 1958, he wasn't just making his National Hockey League® (NHL) debut—he was making history. Celebrate Black History Month with this pure silver tribute to Canadian-born hockey player Willie O'Ree, who became the first Black player to compete in the NHL. A story of courage and determination, O'Ree had to overcome discrimination and a competitive disadvantage to make his hockey dreams come true in the Original SixTM era. By breaking the league's racial barrier, O'Ree's legacy can't be found in any scoring stats—it's in the path he carved for future generations of Black players who left their own imprint on the game.

Your coin honours Willie O'Ree, the first Black player to compete in the NHL. Order today!

Your coin honours Willie O'Ree, the first Black player to compete in the NHL. Order today!

Special features:
  • CELEBRATE BLACK HISTORY MONTH: This coin is our way of bringing attention to trailblazing Black Canadians and their contributions to advancing equality in Canada (and beyond).
  • WE HONOUR A HOCKEY PIONEER: Born and raised in Fredericton, N.B., Willie O'Ree broke racial barriers in the Original Six era by becoming the first Black player in the NHL.
  • OFFICIALLY LICENSED NHL PRODUCT. Crafted from 99.99% pure silver, our tribute to the former NHL player-turned-ambassador for diversity is an officially licensed product of the NHL.
  • FEATURES O'REE'S PLAYER PHOTO: The coin's design re-creates O'Ree's photograph from his playing days with the Boston Bruins (1958, 1960-61).
  • SUBTLE FIELD PATTERN: The Boston Bruins team logo forms a repeating background pattern that is more prominent when viewed from a different angle or under certain lights.
  • INCLUDES HIS SIGNATURE. To give the coin a more personal touch, the design also reproduces O'Ree's signature above his jersey number.
  • SPECIAL PACKAGING: Custom packaging complements the coin design and extends the celebration beyond the coin.
  • INCLUDES SERIALIZED CERTIFICATE! The Royal Canadian Mint certifies all of its collector coins.
  • LIMITED WORLDWIDE MINTAGE! Your coin has a limited worldwide mintage of 5,500 coins!
  • 1 OZ. PURE SILVER! Your coin is crafted from one ounce 99.99% pure silver.

The reverse design re-creates a photograph of Hockey Hall of Fame member Willie O'Ree from his playing days with the Boston Bruins (1958, 1960-61). O'Ree's signature is reproduced above his jersey number ("22"), while in the background, the Boston Bruins logo forms a repeating field pattern. The obverse features the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt.

Did you know…
  • He kept his partial blindness a secret. It was during his time with the Kitchener Canucks, in the 1955-56 season, that a deflected puck struck O'Ree in the face. He lost 95% of his vision in his right eye and was told to stop playing, but 10 days later, O'Ree was back on the ice. He kept his partial blindness a secret since this would have made him ineligible to play in the NHL.
  • O'Ree was also the first black player to score an NHL goal. It was a game-winner, too—it helped Boston beat the visiting Montreal Canadiens on New Year's Day 1961 by a score of 3-2, and it earned O'Ree a standing ovation from the home crowd.

2020 Black History Month Profile: NHL Player Willie O'Ree
Born and raised in Fredericton, N.B., Willie O'Ree played his way up the ranks of junior hockey in Fredericton, Quebec City and Kitchener-Waterloo, where the fast-skating left winger proved to have an intuitive scoring touch.

Signed by the Boston Bruins® in 1957, O'Ree's big break came on January 18, 1958, when the three-time 20-goal scorer was called up as a replacement for a game against the Montreal Canadiens®. O'Ree played one more game for the Bruins before returning to Quebec, but his play earned him another call-up to the Bruins on November 18, 1960. O'Ree played 43 games in the NHL during the 1960-61 season, scoring four goals and 10 assists while enduring racist taunts by opposing players and fans. It proved to be his last season in the NHL; traded to the Montreal Canadiens, O'Ree played 14 seasons in the minors before hanging up his skates in 1979.

A true trailblazer with an inspirational message for all, O'Ree returned to the NHL in 1998 as an ambassador for diversity and today, he continues to promote inclusiveness. He is a Lester Patrick Trophy winner, the inspiration for the Willie O'Ree Community Hero Award, and the recipient of both the Order of Canada and the Order of New Brunswick. O'Ree's induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018 cemented his place in hockey history, by recognizing the far-reaching effects of his career.

In Honour of Black History Month, the Royal  Canadian Mint has proudly designed a 99.99% pure silver tribute to NHL  trailblazer Willie O'Ree.

Your coin is encapsulated and presented in a Royal Canadian Mint-branded custom packaging that complements the coin design and extends the celebration beyond the coin.

Order today!

NHL and the NHL Shield are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. NHL and NHL team marks are the property of the NHL and its teams. © NHL 2020.  All Rights Reserved.

Hockey Hall of Fame name and logo are registered trademarks of the Hockey Hall of Fame and Museum ("HHFM"), Toronto, Canada. © 2020 HHFM. All rights reserved.



  • No.176805
  • Mintage5,500
  • Composition99.99% pure silver
  • Finishproof
  • Weight (g) 31.39
  • Diameter (mm) 38
  • Edgeserrated
  • Certificateserialized
  • Face value20 dollars
  • ArtistSusanna Blunt (obverse)

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