Saturday's 4-0 win over the Oilers marked ex-Bruin defensemen Andrew Ference's return to TD Garden, a place he called home for six years, wearing the spoked B. Ference loved his time in Boston, and Boston loved it's time with Ference. When he had to go at the end of last season, it was an emotional, but friendly departure.
For his return, Ference spoke about his time in Boston, and the impact that then Bruins had both on him, and on the city.
“Obviously we have a special place in our lives for everything that happened here in Boston and I think that a lot of people kind of appreciate that,” Andrew said Saturday morning. “It’s not like I have a whole lot of highlights with great goals or anything like that, but I think people appreciate what I was a part of with the community and stuff like that. I’ve had, even since I left, people send me tons of messages from Boston all the time. So I think the view is mutual of how great we feel each other are.”
While sporting a Bruins jersey, Ference made a big impact on Boston, both on and off the ice. He did a lot for the community, and was a huge supporter of recycling. His impact on the community was widely appreciated, and he continues to be praised for his work, even after heading to Edmonton.
“It’s great to get involved and to know even on a bigger scale not just the impact with different stuff like recycling, but the impact the group of us in there had as a core group,” he said. “When we started, people weren’t wearing the Bruins stuff. The team was struggling a bit and then we got to a point where we got it back to where it should be. People love the team, love the sport. So there’s that sense of pride as a group of us that got to experience that whole growth of that.
“I think that there’s a lot of guys in that group, too, that did reach out into the community and made it more than a place to play. You saw guys downtown, I’m sure people see a Bruin pretty much every day if you’re walking around downtown or the North End or something like that. I think it’s neat that a whole bunch of us embraced the city and I think that helped bring the popularity of the team back to where it should be.”
Photo via www.stamfordadvocate.com
As mentioned, the departure of Andrew Ference went as well as you'll see in sports these days. With upcoming youth on the blueline, there was no room for the veteran defenseman. When Ference was shipped out, he had nothing but kind words for the Bruins organization, and the city of Boston.
“I said it when I left, too, that I realized how fortunate I am to leave under those circumstances,” Ference said. “I’ve seen a lot of guys over the course of their careers that get traded at the drop of the hat. They’re packed up and gone and don’t have a chance to have a long, drawn-out good-bye like I did. When I was told I wasn’t going to come back here, it was under the best terms with Peter and with the team and they were happy with what I did and I was happy with everything they did, wh
ich is great. I had the chance to see a bunch of friends and see people here, and that’s special. It’s been fairytale as it gets in the sports world from a player’s perspective of how to go to a different city and leave a city and be able to know you can come back to open arms.”
When Ference stepped on the ice at TD Garden on Saturday, he recieved a warm welcoming from the Bruins faithful. Following the game, Ference talked about the response TD Garden gave him when he hopped over the boards for his first shift.
“It was nicer than the game,” he said “I was pretty nervous before the game, [Bruins media relations] gave me the heads up that [the video] was coming so I was ready for that,” Ference added. “Obviously a lot of memories and a lot of support, it’s hard not to obviously feel very welcomed and extremely appreciative.”
Boston has the utmost respect for Ference, and Ference the same for Boston. His hard work, and leadership (which allowed him to become the captain of Edmonton intermediately), helped to re-create a name for the Bruins, both in Boston, and across the league. His hard work finally paid off in 2011, where he helped to lift the team to their first Stanley Cup in 39 years. In our minds, he'll always be a Bruin. And after he retires, you can bet he'll spend his fair share of time at TD Garden.
Sothank you, Andrew Ference. We're looking forward to seeing you again.
Sources: Cole, Mike. "Andrew Ference: ‘We Have A Special Place In Our Lives’ For Boston Read More At: Http://nesn.com/2014/02/andrew-ference-we-have-a-special-place-in-our-lives-for-boston/." NESN.com. N.p., 1 Feb. 2014. Web. 1 Feb. 2014.