Photo Credit: http://www.zimbio.com
By: Andrew Thompson Twitter: @Godwentwhoops
Yesterday, former Boston Bruins defenceman Andrew Ference decided to hang up the skates after a 16-year NHL career. The 38-year old blueliner spent seven seasons in Boston, helping the Black and Gold secure their first Stanley Cup in a generation back in 2011.
Ference appeared in 907 NHL games in the course of his career, putting up 225 points (43 goals) and and equally impressive 753 penalty minutes. He also played in 120 playoff games, racking up 38 points (eight goals) and 122 penalty minutes.
Ference had no regrets in hanging up the skates, and tried to thank as many people as possible on helping achieve and sustain such a long career in hockey.
“As I graduate from my time of playing in the NHL, I realize I have the problem of being unable to properly thank the hundreds of people who have helped me achieve my goal of playing in the best league in the world,” said Ference on the NHL Players’ Association website. “No one gets here on their own, especially average-sized guys with average skills. If you think you deserve a thank you from me, you probably do … Thanks!”
Ference wasn’t only known for his hockey skills. He became a staunch defender of the environment, and embraced the unofficial nickname of ‘Captain Planet’. There are still posters of Ference urging Bostonians to do what they can to help the planet around the city (most notably outside the Boston Public Library).
He was also a strong defender of the LBGT community, and was the first pro athlete to march in Edmonton’s PRIDE parade.
Ference’s tenure as the Oilers captain was short-lived. He was sidelined by a hip injury back in 2015. It limited him to six games in the 2015-16 season, and forced him to sit out the 2016-17 season. He signed off on giving Connor McDavid the captaincy of the Oilers when it became clear he’d be unable to play last season.
Andrew Ference never did anything in half-measures. He was committed to helping his team the best that he could be. He had no reservations about putting his body on the line to block a shot, stop a play in the defensive zone, or throw down the gloves to support his team. His workout regimen was half-example/half-challenge to the younger Bruins players that were coming up in Boston.
While Ference was known for using his body as a shield or a sledgehammer, he’ll most likely be remembered in Boston for the use of one of his fingers.
Ference was fined $2500 for that finger and later apologized for it.
Ference isn’t the only member of the 2011 Stanley Cup team who retired this year. Shawn Thornton hung up the skates to become a Vice President in the Florida Panthers organization. Gregory Campbell retired to become a coach for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Godspeed Captain Planet. You taught us how to love the planet, hate the Habs, and reminded us to remind you to always shoot the puck.