Andrew Ference may hail from the prairies of Alberta, but during his seven-season tenure as a member of the Boston Bruins, he became so intertwined with the Boston community that you’d be forgiven for accidentally thinking he was a native.
This is a man who extolled the virtues of Monica’s Mercato in the North End for good food, who organized a flash mob with the Stanley Cup in that very neighborhood, who always liked visiting Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, who invited National Geographic camera crews to get a peek inside his life off the ice–so even though he has to leave the team due to salary cap constraints, the fact is that Bruins fans and the city of Boston will miss him.
With the Bruins, Ference accomplished some pretty notable things. Chief among them, of course, is being on the 2011 Stanley Cup team, a victory now memorialized forever in one of his many tattoos. During that playoff run, he put up four goals and six assists in 25 games, then turned around and had a career-high six goals in 2011-12. That 2011 postseason also included the infamous bird-flipping at the Montreal Canadiens crowd after he’d scored a goal, but that wasn’t the biggest highlight!
He also became an alternate captain in last year’s campaign, sharing duties with Chris Kelly. Plus, his experience of getting agonizingly close to, but falling short of winning, the Stanley Cup while with the Calgary Flames in 2004 was a useful learning experience for his black and gold teammates as they faced a win-or-go-home Game 6 in 2011.
He’s famous for finding offbeat items of clothing that are given out as awards to single-game MVPs. You know: the old-school Bruins jacket that was gifted to Mark Recchi after the Cup win, the slightly less well-known chain necklace during last year’s playoff run, the shirt featuring a red rooster from this regular season, the Army Ranger jacket from these playoffs. Who’s going to do that now?
Off the ice, he’s gone above and beyond the call of duty to try to help Mother Earth. He bought a tricked-out electric Fisker Karma, showed off the composting he and his family did in their complex, created a carbon-neutral program for the NHL and often spoke of green products and issues on his popular Twitter feed.
During the dark times of the manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, he was on the ball with updates. In fact, his two daughters were right by Boylston Street when the bombing happened, forcing him into a tough situation where he had to tell those sweet girls about evil in the world. Reportedly, his biggest concern about his future is just making sure he can know where his daughters are going to school next year.
Here’s hoping his next team, wherever that may be, will take good care of him. Here are just a few video clips to remember him by:
Breaking through with a blue line goal during the 2011 Cup Final.
Another blue line goal, later in the series, ends up causing a goalie change.
Organizing a You Can Play fundraiser that involves some intense exercising and a little gentle ribbing.
Going in on PK Subban when Subban puts a big hit on David Krejci.
An explanation of his many tattoos.
Showing his appreciation to the Watertown police.