Photo courtesy of NESN.com
BOSTON-- According to a report from CBSBostonSports.com, Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference will not be returning to the team next season, and will be testing free agency. Ference spoke to reporters as players were packing up their lockers for the summer and told them he would not be back, according to the report.
“With the current cap, Peter [Chiarelli] isn’t going to be able to keep me,” Ference said. “So you know, he’s got to re-sign Tuukka [Rask], and obviously do his side of the business.”
Ference’s statement was confirmed in a press conference by Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli.
“I can’t say enough what he’s brought to the organization,” Chiarelli said
Ference was acquired by the Bruins from the Calgary Flames in February of 2007 in a deal that saw Boston College Eagle alum Chuck Kobasew come to Beantown as well in exchange for Brad Stuart and Wayne Primeau. Things started out rocky for him as he tallied only one goal and 14 assists to go with a minus-14 rating, but as many saw later, his output during his Bruins tenure improved quickly.
He averaged three goals and 12 assists in the five seasons that followed and was a key contributor during the Black and Gold’s 2011 Stanley Cup run. In 25 postseason games, he tallied four goals and six assists for a total of 10 points. As a result of his efforts, he was given the honor of the second “A”, splitting it with teammate Chris Kelly.
However, due to the salary cap being lowered next season, both sides have come to the consensus that the money will need to be spent in other places.
“Unfortunately with the new CBA, he’s restricted. [Chiarelli] said ‘wish it wasn’t so,’ but that’s the way it is,” Ference said.
He was a fixture in the city of Boston during his time there, giving donations to many charitable causes, and even taking the Stanley Cup and putting it on the back of his bike, where it then was “paraded” around the city.
“It’s the outside of the rink stuff that has made it,” Ference said. “The city has been unbelievable.
“We’re sitting here knowing that we’re not just losing a good player, but a good leader,” head coach Claude Julien said Wednesday. “He’s always gone above and beyond”
Much like the departure of Jaromir Jagr, business is business and oftentimes these types of moves need to be made. His contributions to the Bruins will not be forgotten and hopefully he succeeds in his future endeavors, whatever they may be.