Hockey Is For Everyone — Willie O’Ree at the Carnegie Initiative Summit

cecil dormanAll Stories, Boston Meetings

Willie O'Ree Portrait

Willie O’Ree Portrait by Tim Okamura

At the inaugural Carnegie Initiative Summit the Boston Bruins honored Willie O’Ree by retiring his number 22 jersey. Back in 1958, Willie became the first black hockey player in the National Hockey League. Since then, Willie has continued to impact the sport and the community with his efforts to promote inclusion and diversity in youth through institutions like the Carnegie Institute to ensure that “Hockey is for Everyone.” O’Ree is currently the National Hockey League’s Director of Youth Development and ambassador for NHL Diversity.

Willie continues to impact the sport and the community through institutions like the Carnegie Institute.

AVFX provided event technology services for the summit, held at the HUB and TD Garden in Boston. The primary technical challenge involved converting an empty movie theater into a live event venue. With no existing AV in the theater, we had to build truss towers to support the lighting and audio for the in-person attendees. We converged four 10k laser projectors to cover the widescreen, as well as creating a dedicated wireless internet network for attendees and staff to use while also running the stream to monitors in the lobby over NDI.

The two-day event featured speakers and panelists from academia, media, the corporate world, grassroots organizations, and pro sports. Bestselling author and National Book Award Winner Ibram X. Kendi delivered the keynote speech. As a result of the spike in Omicron cases, the summit rapidly evolved from an in-person event to a hybrid event (an event with a mix of in-person and virtual presenters, panelists, and attendees). We livestreamed the event across the globe to maximize its impact.

The Carnegie Initiative was created to ensure opportunity and access to hockey everywhere in honor of legendary hockey player and social justice pioneer Herb Carnegie. Over 200 people attended the event in person, and thousands more watched from around the world via livestream. The co-founders of the Carnegie Initiative declared the event a success, and immediately after the event we began to work together to plan for next year’s event.
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