Willie O’Ree and Art Dorrington to Host Free Youth Hockey Clinic Tues., Jan. 24, as Tribute to AHL ClassicWednesday, January 18th, 2012
ATLANTIC CITY — Professional ice hockey pioneers Willie O’Ree and Art Dorrington will host a youth hockey clinic at Boardwalk Hall on Tuesday, Jan. 24 at 4pm, in support of the 2012 AHL All-Star Classic, which will take place Sunday and Monday, Jan. 29-30, at Boardwalk Hall. The youth hockey clinic is free and open to the public.
O’Ree and Dorrington hold important places in NHL history. O’Ree is recognized as the first African American hockey player to play in the NHL as a member of the Boston Bruins in 1958. Dorrington was the first African American hockey player to sign a NHL contract when he joined the New York Rangers organization in the 1950s. Due to a leg injury, Dorrington (a transplanted Nova Scotia resident who for years has called Atlantic City home) was unable to play at the NHL level, but is remembered locally as a member of the now-defunct Eastern Hockey League’s Atlantic City Seagulls’ championship team of 1951.
Prior to the start of the clinic, and in recognition and appreciation to Dorrington’s allegiance to the community and hockey career, Boardwalk Hall will rename the building’s ice rink in his honor. The dedication of the “Art Dorrington Ice Rink” at Boardwalk Hall, which includes a proclamation from Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford, will also be part of the day’s festivities.
The clinic will be comprised of students from the Atlantic City-based “Art Dorrington Ice Hockey Foundation,” and will focus on hockey technique while highlighting the importance of positive ethics such as teamwork, sportsmanship and commitment. Like Dorrington, O’Ree is a strong advocate of minority education who has invested time in introducing the game of hockey to disadvantaged youth and teaching them life lessons. O’Ree is currently the National Hockey League’s Director of Youth Development and hockey ambassador for the “Hockey is for Everyone” initiative. Similar to Dorrington’s mission, as director of youth development, O’Ree has helped launch more than 30 local grassroots hockey programs around North America with the purpose of educating disadvantaged youth in the values of hockey and life. To date more than 45,000 children have participated in O’Ree’s programs.