Breakup day is always a sad day for the Bruins and their fans, but on this day it was even more emotional for Andrew Ference and Bruins fans across the world.
“Well obviously all of us meet with Peter [Chiarelli] today and with Claude [Julien] as well, and it’s usually about the same meeting every year – how our season went and all that. With the current cap Peter [Chiarelli] isn’t going to be able to keep me” said Andrew Ference who is now currently an unrestricted free agent.
“So you know, he’s got to resign Tuukka [Rask], and obviously do his side of the business. Also unfortunately with the new CBA he’s restricted. He said ‘wish it wasn’t so,’ but that’s the way it is.”
Ference spent seven seasons with the Bruins and was brought in during General Manger Peter Chiarelli’s first season in Boston so obviously this was a tough decision for Chiarelli.
“I spoke with him, and told him that we wouldn’t be re-signing him and we kind of rehashed our history with the Bruins” said Chiarelli. “If you can recall, we brought him in my first year. He’s been part of this, what we’ve built here. The warrior-type of attitude and playing style for his size and as Claude talked about, the leadership.”
The decision to let Ference go is not based on his play; it’s strictly a cap-related move as per the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) the National Hockey League’s salary cap is being reduced to $64.3 Million. And with young guys like Matt Bartkowski and Torey Krug as cheaper options who are ready to make a full-time impact with the Bruins, the timing is right.
Ference had his up and downs during his seven-year run as a Bruin with this past season being arguably his worst, but what Ference meant to the team inside the room and in the community was what made him so valuable.
“He’s always gone above and beyond with the little things in the dressing room and everything that comes with it. He’s been a good teammate, smart” said head coach Claude Julien.” Like I said, every year in the playoffs he always took the initiative to come up with some of the ideas of the jackets and stuff like that. He’s meant a lot. He’s really respected by his teammates, but at the same time these are the toughest things.”
From a fans perspective it will be tough to see Ference go as he became one of us, a Bostonian.
No one will ever forget the amazing pre-game interview that aired on NBC Sports Network of Ference and teammate Shawn Thornton in the Bruins first game after the tragic attacks at the Boston Marathon where Ference and Thornton talked about becoming Bostonians.
“When you pile on the fact that we’ve been able to live in this city, and we have no greater friends in the world than the ones that we made here. So obviously to have that over the past few years is priceless, and that’s obviously a big reason why I wanted to stay. Obviously our friends outside of hockey, and the schools that our kids go to are second-to-none – that’s just as tough if not tougher to leave than the hockey side of it” said Ference.
The Edmonton Alberta, Canada native made it clear that he will indeed be playing for another team in the league next year as he’s not ready to hang up the skates just yet.
“Oh no, I’ll be playing for sure. So the good thing I guess is I obviously had a lot of time to prepare for the chance that I might not be re-signing… Like I said, it’s tough to complain I’m playing hockey for a living it’s a dream come true.”
Thanks to the new NHL schedule plan no matter where Ference signs he is guaranteed at least one game in TD Garden where he will no doubt be welcomed back by Bruins fans with open arms.
Here is Ference’s full breakup day media session; you may want to grab a box of tissues for this one.