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50/50 - The Golden Anniversaries of Willie O'Ree and Yvon Durelle
New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame
Fredericton , New Brunswick


slurs, death threats and
physical challenges, O’Ree
would go on to have a 21-
season, 10-team professional
career as a player. Today,
in his early seventies, O’Ree
continues as the Director of
the National Hockey League’s
Youth Development and an
ambassador for NHL diversity,

roles which see him travel
across North America to speak
to boys and girls and expose
them to the hockey
   In an era when Maurice
Richard epitomized the hopes
and aspirations of the French
Canadian population, Yvon

Durelle carried the standard
for New Brunswick’s Acadians.
One of 14 children born to a
Baie-Sainte-Anne fishing
family, Yvon grew strong,
tough and fearless working
the waters alongside his
father, brothers, uncles and
cousins. When he entered the
ring for the first time in

the late 1940s, he knocked
out a local boxer for a purse
of $8. Durelle won 31 of his
first 35 fights and his
record would, eventually,
tally a total of 87 wins (50
by knockout), 24 losses, two
draws and one no-contest, but
it was the famous bout in
1958 which made the “Fighting

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