After 16 seasons in the NHL, defenseman Andrew Ference has called it a career. Ference began his hockey quest in 1993-94 when he played for the Sherwood Park Flyers Triple-A Bantam team. He’d move up a level the following season before playing Major Junior in 1995-96 in the WHL. During his time in the WHL with the Portland Winterhawks, Ference played a total of 258 games putting up 43 goals and 141 assists for 184 points with 572 penalty minutes.
He spent a total of five seasons with the organization before finally being drafted in the eighth round of the 1997 NHL Entry Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins. And he would go on to make his NHL debut during the 1999-00 season with the Penguins playing in 30 games putting up two goals and four assists. He also spent the other half of that season in the AHL with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. For the next two seasons, Ference would play for Pittsburgh before he was sent to the Calgary Flames.
Ference spent a total of three seasons with Calgary scoring 10 goals and adding 63 assists for 73 points in 224 games. He would then again be on the move to the Boston Bruins during the 2006-07 season with Calgary in a deal that also sent Chuck Kobasew to Boston for Wayne Primeau and Brad Stuart. And that’s where Ference really broke out as a player. He played six seasons with the club where he was an assistant captain for his final two seasons in 2011-12 and 2012-13 respectively. Another place Ference played was in the Czech Elite League for HC Ceske Budejovice during the 2005-06 and 2012-13 lockout seasons.
Once again Ference was on the move, however, this time he was signed as a free agent by the Edmonton Oilers to a four-year deal on July 5th, 2013. The contract was worth $13 Million with an annual average of $3.25 Million per season. But things didn’t go too great for Ference in Edmonton even though he captained the team from 2013-14 to 2015-16. Those two seasons were also the only ones where he registered points for the team as well playing in 141 games but only putting up six goals and 26 assists for 32 points. This output from Ference seen him spend most of his time on the bench or the press box as a healthy scratch in 2015-16, and in 2016-17 he didn’t play a single game due to being placed on the long-term injured reserve.
But he did accomplish more in his hockey career, for instance winning a Memorial Cup and WHL Championship in 1997-98 with the Portland Winterhawks. And also winning a U-20 World Junior Championship Silver Medal in 1998-99 for Team Canada. In 2000-01, Ference would go on to appear in the AHL All-Star Game and in 2004-05 he would win the Level 2 Czech League Championship. But his biggest award had to come during the 2010-11 season with the Boston Bruins when he won the biggest trophy of them all, the Stanley Cup. He finishes his NHL career with 907 games played with 43 goals and 182 assists for 225 points along with 753 penalty minutes.
Andrew Ference was always a decent player and respectful person on and off the ice, which is why he won the King Clancy Trophy which is for NHL Leadership and Humanitarian. It’s just sad his last couple of seasons in the league didn’t go so well or he could have left on a higher note, but with a Stanley Cup and other accolades in his back pocket, there’s not much to worry about.