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Former NHLer Bill Riley to have 2 awards in his honour from Hockey Nova Scotia

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Hockey Nova Scotia has announced two new awards that honour the achievements of former NHLer Bill Riley.

The Bill Riley Award and the Bill Riley Scholarship are named in recognition of William “Bill” James Riley, who is from Amherst and who became the first African Nova Scotian to play in the NHL on Dec. 26, 1974, when he made his debut for the Washington Capitals.

“This is a tremendous honour from Hockey Nova Scotia, and I am very proud to help inspire the next generation of great African Nova Scotian hockey players in the game,” Riley said in a news release issued on Monday.

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The Bill Riley award will be presented annually to a player of African Nova Scotian descent who embodies certain traits that Riley was known to display throughout his playing career. Some of the characteristics listed include having a “tenacious work ethic” and being “passionate about the sport.”

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Dean Smith, Hockey Nova Scotia’s Diversity and Inclusion Chair, said Riley has inspired many people.

“On behalf of our board of directors and our diversity and inclusion committee, I am thrilled to launch this award and scholarship in honour of a great Nova Scotian and a true difference-maker in the game,” Smith said in a statement.

The Bill Riley Scholarship is a $2,000 scholarship that will be awarded to an African Nova Scotian play graduating from high school. Like Riley, the student needs to be driven and passionate about hockey.

The application deadline is May 23.

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