Sen. Stabenow leads push for Congressional Medal for O’Ree
Two U.S. senators, including Michigan Democrat Debbie Stabenow, think that Willie O’Ree should be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by Congress.
O’Ree was the NHL’s first black player, breaking the color barrier when he played for the Boston Bruins on Jan 18, 1958. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame for his off-ice accomplishments of working to cultivate a new generation of players and fans heading the NHL’s diversity efforts.
"Please join us in honoring Willie O'Ree for his extraordinary contributions to sport, service and society by co-sponsoring the Willie O'Ree Congressional Gold Medal Act," Stabenow and Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) wrote in "Dear Colleague" letters. "Mr. O'Ree is best known as the 'Jackie Robinson of ice hockey' after he became the first black player to compete in the National Hockey League as a member of the Boston Bruins. Through his groundbreaking contributions and commitment to professional hockey, Mr. O'Ree has had a profound impact on the sport for the past sixty years."
Stabenow and Scott introduced the bill in late June. It is similar to a bipartisan bill introduced in the House of Representatives in May.
At least 67 of 100 senators must cosponsor the bill for it to be considered. In the 435-member House, at least two-thirds, or 290 lawmakers, must co-sponsor the legislation.
Dennis Cholowski knows what he has to do to get back to the NHL as soon as possible.
The defenseman, who was the Red Wings’ first-round pick (20th overall) in the 2016 NHL draft, surprisingly made the team out of training camp and continued to impress for most of the first half of the season. But his play, particularly defensively, quickly deteriorated, and he was demoted to Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League. Cholowski finished the season there, playing 25 games.
“Just be more responsible,” Cholowski told the Detroit News of what he needs to do defensively. “Have the coaches trust me on the ice and to be able to put me on the ice and know I’m not going to be scored on, and that I can box guys out and I can kill play in the defensive one.
“If I can come in and do that, and let my offensive side take over, I’ll be OK.”
Cholowski served as a guest instructor during the Red Wings’ Youth Hockey Camp on Monday.
Wings sign Seider
Detroit signed defenseman Moritz Seider, whom they selected with the sixth overall pick in June’s NHL draft, to a three-year entry-level contract earlier in the week.
Seider, 6-4 and 207 pounds, is the second-highest German player ever taken in the draft. Edmonton drafted Leon Draisaitl third overall in 2014.
It is not known whether Seider will remain with Mannhein of Germany’s top pro league or play with Grand Rapids next season.
Hicketts stays in the fold
The Wings re-signed defenseman Joe Hicketts to a two-year contract.
The 23-year-old played 11 games with Detroit last season and 16 with the Red Wings over the last two campaigns.
Signed by the Wings as an undrafted free agent before the 2014-15 season, Hicketts has spent most of his professional career, which began in 2016-17, with Grand Rapids.