Andrew Ference became the second member of the Boston Bruins to make it official and seek temporary work across the ocean. According to both Elite Prospects and The Fourth Period’s separate lockout player signing trackers, he’s signed with HC Mountfield Ceske Budejovice in the Czech Republic along with Radek Martinek, an unrestricted free agent formerly of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
A rough Google Translate version of this website says that Ference should join the team on Oct. 7, according to the team’s chairman and general manager. The team’s sports manager, Peter Sailer, mentioned some personal issues Ference is dealing with that will keep him from arriving until then.
Mountfield is based in the city of Ceske Budejovice, located in the south of the Czech Republic in the South Bohemian Region. Ceske Budejovice is the largest city in the region, near the Vltava River and dates back to 1265. It’s known for its beer brewing and beer from the region is called Budweiser Bier, or “beer from Budweis” in German, which is still commonly spoken in the area.
No, not the Budweiser beer sold by Anheuser-Busch in America–this is different, and though Anheuser-Busch has tried to buy out the Czech brewing operation to secure worldwide Budweiser naming rights, the Czech government refuses all entreaties on the matter. So, there’s your fun trivia about Ceske Budejovice.
As for Mountfield, that team has been playing since 1911 and has changed names many times. Mountfield is a sponsor and the HC Ceske Budejovice name dates from 1992.
Ference actually has prior playing experience with Mountfield–it’s where he played during the last lockout. (What a shame that the 2004-05 lockout can no longer be referred to as the last lockout.) In that time, he played 19 games, putting up five goals and six assists. He also got a nice welcome from Mountfield fans when the Bruins went to the Czech Republic for the Premiere games in 2010. Check out the banner!
Now it seems Mountfield faithful will be able to reunite with him again for another tour of duty.
This contract includes an opt-out clause that will bring Ference back to the Bruins upon the end of the lockout. For his part, Ference has not yet spoken about this on his Twitter. He last tweeted about six hours ago, as of this writing, about putting together what sounds like a “honey-do” list that is going to require a Home Depot trip.