Edmonton Oilers defenseman Andrew Ference helped the Boston Bruins win a Stanley Cup in 2011. The 37-year old blueliner has reached the decision that has NHL career is essentially over. Now, the soon-to-be ex-hockey player and active environmental activist is ready to close the book on one chapter in his life and move on to the next.
“I got 16 years,” said Ference to the Edmonton Journal. “I don’t feel I missed out. The people close to me walk on egg-shells until I tell them it’s OK. I told my wife it’s like graduating from high school. You go to high school, have a blast, have all these great parties but by the time you get to the end of high school, you say, ‘All right, I’m ready for the next step.’ You have fond memories. If I hadn’t won a Stanley Cup (2011 in Boston), that would be tough to swallow now.”
Ference has played like a man five inches taller and fifty pounds heavier his entire career. He’s played with his heart on his sleeve, and he’s done everything he could to help the Bruins win a Stanley Cup (and everything he could do to help Edmonton approach mediocrity). He’s played in over 1,000 NHL games (regular season and playoffs combined) and he was a real voice in the Boston locker room.
He also knew how to stoke the flames of the ancient Boston-Montreal rivalry. He got fined for flipping off the Montreal fans during that memorable game. Ference was utterly fearless during his time in Boston and he earned a reputation for being a player that would seek instant justice for any slights committed on the ice.
Personally, I’m going to miss Ference. He was the first member of the Bruins to consider me ‘media’. He was always great with the fans, and he loved Boston as much as he loves Edmonton. He’s also really funny in the real life.
For the first two seasons in Edmonton, Ference held the captaincy. But as the injuries piled on, and his skating time diminished, he ended up losing the ‘C’. Last season Ference was only able to play in six games for Edmonton. With Ference ‘retiring’, the odds-on favorite to wear the ‘C’ for the Oilers this season is Connor McDavid.
Ference has one year left on his contract. It’s unlikely he’ll be able to pass the physical. Which means Edmonton will put him on long-term injured reserve and he’ll end up joining fellow former Bruins player Nathan Horton in hockey limbo until his contract is up.
At least Ference got to welcome fellow former Bruin Milan Lucic to Edmonton. “Looch will be great. He’s as honest as they come,” said Ference of Lucic.
While he’s not going out the way he wanted to, he’s certainly ready for the next chapter. He earned a degree from Harvard in corporate sustainability. He’s also still heavily involved in environmental issues. So while Andrew Ference is ready to give up hockey, he’s ready to help save the planet.