Penguins goalie takes leave of absence
The Associated Press
PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray is taking a leave of absence from the team following the death of his father.
The Penguins announced Wednesday that James Murray, Matt’s father, died on Tuesday in Ontario, Canada. Matt Murray, who backstopped Pittsburgh to consecutive Stanley Cup titles in 2016 and 2017, will be away from the team indefinitely.
Murray took a brief trip home last week to tend to what the team called a “personal matter” at the time.
The Penguins begin a three-game West Coast road trip on Wednesday in Anaheim.
Honor in Boston
BOSTON — Hockey pioneer Willie O’Ree was honored in Boston on Wednesday on the 60th anniversary of the Bruins forward breaking the NHL’s color barrier.
At a news conference at the TD Garden before the Bruins game against the Montreal Canadiens, Mayor Marty Walsh declared Jan. 18, 2018 to be “Willie O’Ree Day”. O’Ree made his debut in 1958 during a 3-0 victory against the Canadiens at the Forum in Montreal.
Walsh called O’Ree a Boston legend who changed the city for the better and thanked him for his courage. As part of the celebration, the city dedicated a new street hockey rink in the Allston-Brighton neighborhood to be known as Willie O’Ree Rink.
A native of Canada, O’Ree, 82, had four goals and 10 assists in 45 games over parts of two NHL seasons. He spent a total of 21 years in pro hockey.
For the past two decades, O’Ree has served as the NHL’s Diversity Ambassador, spreading the message that hockey is for everyone.
Time to retire
BOSTON — Rene Rancourt, the tuxedoed troubadour who has sung the national anthem before Boston Bruins games for more than 40 years, announced on Wednesday that he will retire at the end of the season.
The 78-year-old trained opera singer began singing the “Star-Spangled Banner” at Red Sox games and took over the U.S. and Canadian anthems at Bruins games during the 1975-76 season. He ends his performance with a signature fist pump he modeled after Bruins forward Randy Burridge.
Rancourt performed the anthem on April 17, 2013, for the first sporting event in the city after the Boston Marathon bombing. He sang the first few words and then allowed the crowd to take over.