[Congressional Bills 117th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[S. 452 Enrolled Bill (ENR)]


                    One Hundred Seventeenth Congress

                                 of the

                        United States of America

                          AT THE SECOND SESSION

           Begun and held at the City of Washington on Monday,
          the third day of January, two thousand and twenty two

                                 An Act

 To award a Congressional Gold Medal to Willie O'Ree, in recognition of 
his extraordinary contributions and commitment to hockey, inclusion, and 
                        recreational opportunity.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,
    This Act may be cited as the ``Willie O'Ree Congressional Gold 
Medal Act''.
    Congress finds the following:
        (1) Willie O'Ree was the first Black player to compete in the 
    National Hockey League (NHL), appearing for the Boston Bruins on 
    January 18, 1958, in the throes of the civil rights movement in the 
    United States helping to end racial segregation in the premier 
    professional ice hockey league; he is widely referred to as the 
    ``Jackie Robinson of Hockey''.
        (2) Willie O'Ree was born October 15, 1935, in Fredericton, New 
    Brunswick, Canada; he is the youngest of 13 children and a 
    descendant of Paris O'Ree, whose name appears in the famous 
    historical document ``The Book of Negroes''.
        (3) Willie O'Ree was raised by his parents in Fredericton, a 
    predominantly White town where hockey was deeply rooted within the 
    culture. O'Ree was a standout athlete on the ice and the baseball 
        (4) At age 21, O'Ree was being scouted by professional baseball 
    teams and seriously considered baseball as a career. Upon 
    experiencing the segregated South for the first time while 
    appearing for a minor league tryout, his dream changed and his 
    attention turned solely to ice hockey.
        (5) While playing amateur hockey, Willie was struck in his 
    right eye with a puck and lost his eyesight. He was told by doctors 
    to abandon his hockey career; instead, never disclosing the extent 
    of his injury, he pursued his dream of playing professional hockey.
        (6) At the age of 22, O'Ree was called up from the Quebec Aces 
    of the Quebec Hockey League (QHL) to play for the NHL's Boston 
    Bruins at a time when only 6 teams existed in the league. O'Ree was 
    unaware he had broken the color barrier at the top level of the 
    sport until he read it in the newspaper the following day.
        (7) Blind in 1 eye and a victim of racism at times throughout 
    his career, O'Ree persevered and played professional hockey for 22 
    years, tallying over 1,000 points.
        (8) In 1996, 17 years after O'Ree retired from professional 
    hockey, the National Hockey League hired O'Ree as the first-ever 
    Diversity Ambassador. Having already changed the game forever 
    through his courage and convictions, O'Ree gives new definition to 
    what it means to be a trailblazer.
        (9) In this role as Diversity Ambassador with the NHL, O'Ree 
    set out to grow the sport by providing access, opportunity, and 
    motivation for children of all races, ethnicities, origins, and 
    abilities. With O'Ree providing a vivid example of what is possible 
    and serving as a relentless supporter of children pursuing their 
    dreams, more than 30 nonprofit youth organizations, dubbed Hockey 
    is for Everyone programs, were developed across North America, each 
    committed to offering minority and underserved children an 
    opportunity to play hockey, leveraging the sport to build 
    character, foster positive values, and develop important life 
        (10) Through Hockey is for Everyone programs, more than 120,000 
    boys and girls have been positively impacted. O'Ree has devoted 
    nearly 2,500 days on the ground with the youth participants, 
    visiting more than 500 schools, community centers, and rinks to 
    speak to hockey's core values and beliefs: stay in school; set 
    goals for yourself; remain committed and disciplined; and always 
    respect your teammates, coaches, and parents.
        (11) Hockey is for Everyone programs have provided important 
    opportunities for youth to partake in physical fitness. Today in 
    the United States, fewer than half of the children ages 6-11 engage 
    in the recommended amount of physical activity, and that number is 
    lower for low-income families. O'Ree has stood as a champion of 
    youth athletic participation and its health benefits for decades.
        (12) Hockey is for Everyone programs provide numerous off-ice 
    services to youth: SAT and academic tutoring, mentoring, nutrition 
    education, college counseling, community service opportunities, and 
    more. The program has excelled at using hockey as a vehicle to 
    improve the social and emotional wellness of youth and improve 
    students' academic performances both in primary school and beyond.
        (13) O'Ree was also named a Member of the Order of Canada in 
    2008 and, in 2018, the City of Boston released an official 
    Proclamation recognizing January 18, the anniversary of the day he 
    broke into the game, as ``Willie O'Ree Day''.
        (14) In November 2018, 60 years after O'Ree entered the NHL, he 
    was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the ``builder'' 
    category in recognition of his efforts to grow the game, using his 
    position and the platform of hockey to improve the lives of 
    children throughout North America.
    (a) Award Authorized.--The Speaker of the House of Representatives 
and the President pro tempore of the Senate shall make appropriate 
arrangements for the award, on behalf of the Congress, of a single gold 
medal of appropriate design to Willie O'Ree, or if unavailable, to a 
member of his family, in recognition of his extraordinary contributions 
and commitment to hockey, inclusion, and recreational opportunity.
    (b) Design and Striking.--For the purposes of the award referred to 
in subsection (a), the Secretary of the Treasury (hereafter in this Act 
referred to as the ``Secretary'') shall strike the gold medal with 
suitable emblems, devices, and inscriptions, to be determined by the 
Secretary. The design shall bear an image of, and an inscription of the 
name of, Willie O'Ree.
    (a) In General.--The Secretary may strike and sell duplicates in 
bronze of the gold medal struck under section 3, at a price sufficient 
to cover the costs of the medals, including labor, materials, dies, use 
of machinery, and overhead expenses.
    (b) Proceeds of Sales.--The amounts received from the sale of 
duplicate medals under subsection (a) shall be deposited in the United 
States Mint Public Enterprise Fund.
    (c) Authority to Use Fund Amounts.--There is authorized to be 
charged against the United States Mint Public Enterprise Fund such 
amounts as may be necessary to pay for the costs of the medals struck 
under this Act.
    (a) National Medal.--The medals struck pursuant to this Act are 
national medals for purposes of chapter 51 of title 31, United States 
    (b) Numismatic Items.--For purposes of section 5134 of title 31, 
United States Code, all medals struck under this Act shall be 
considered to be numismatic items.

                               Speaker of the House of Representatives.

                            Vice President of the United States and    
                                               President of the Senate.