O'Reilly bought tickets for entire youth hockey team to attend game in Ottawa

O'Reilly and his mom wanted to help show this First Nation teenage hockey team that racism has no part in the game they love.

March 14, 2019 - 11:51 am

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Ryan O'Reilly is stepping up to help after his mom sent him the story about a teenage First Nation hockey team who were the victims of racist comments during a tournament in Quebec City, Canada last year.

The First Nation Elites Bantam AAA hockey team was subjected to comments from the opposing fans, players, coaches and even the referees. Things like "Gang of savages," "You big n-----," and "You baboon," and others that nearly brought some of the players to tears.

When the St. Louis Blues forward heard about the harassment, he wanted to help. O'Reilly talked to our Alex Ferrario about why he wanted to buy the 35 tickets for the team and some of their family members to attend Thursday's Blues game. You can hear their full converstaion in the video above. 

"They're amazing people that we've mistreated in Canada for so many years, and it's awful," he says. "And this happens in something that I obviously have a big love for, which is playing hockey, and that stuff that happens and I just wanted to do something about it. So my mom had this great idea to bring them to the game.

"There's no place for that stuff. This game is yours, it's mine and it's something that we love to do no matter where you're from." 

The team, whose players live in Quebec, Ontario and Nova Scotia, are going to lunch with his parents before Thursday's game in Ottawa. 

O'Reilly says he's not surprised by his mom's generosity, as she has been a foster parent for much of her life – housing more than 47 teenagers over the course of the 21 years O'Reilly lived with his parents. 

"Pretty much her whole life has been about giving back and helping people. She comes from a family of 14," O'Reilly says. "My mom is a very special person that I admire so much." 

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