When assessing the playing career of Willie O'Ree, one should never forget his hockey legacy in Southern California. Before the Kings arrived in Los Angeles, Willie had already rung up 175 goals over six seasons in the Western Hockey League, arguably the best circuit outside the six-team NHL.
With the arrival of the expansion Kings, Willie continued his WHL career down in San Diego in 1967-68, the first of nine remarkable seasons of pro hockey in the town know for surfing and tennis. Willie created a sports love affair between the town and the team, playing before packed houses at the flashy San Diego Sports Arena deep into the 1970's. Willie won the WHL scoring title in 1968-69 with 79 points in 70 games, and worked the phones during the off-season to keep the season ticket sales rolling.
|O'Ree:15 pro seasons in SoCal|