Andrew Ference All But Officially Retires from the NHL | - Edmonton Oilers News and Rumours

Andrew Ference All But Officially Retires from the NHL

While he hasn't officially retired, Oilers former captain and defenseman Andrew Ference is admitting his NHL career is over. Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal recently published an interview he conducted with Ference and it's clear from that article, Edmonton fans won't see the blueliner on the new Rogers Place ice as a player this or any time in the near future.

Photo by Lisa Gansky

It's no surprise that Matheson, who has been known over his media career to get a lot of information other media can't get, is the one to break this story. It's not as though the news comes as a surprise, but more, that until now, it's never been publicly addressed and admitted. Unless I'm mistaken, this is the first time Ference himself has come out and unofficially called it a "career-ending injury".

A Solid NHL Career

Ference was drafted 208th overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1997. As an unranked player, it wasn't until after Ference sent a letter to every NHL GM, which included test results from the University of Alberta, that he intented to prove scouts wrong and carve a career for himself in the NHL, that he got noticed. 

It took Ference a couple years to land a full-time role in the NHL, but in 2002, he made his mark, playing in a number of regular season games and posting 10 points in 18 games in the playoffs. In 2003, he was traded to the Calgary Flames and played there until being traded to the Boston Bruins in 2007. 

In 2011, he was part of the Stanley Cup Championship Bruins team. He continued to play for the Bruins until his contract expired in 2013. That summer he was signed by the Oilers where he is now ending his career.

It's Ending Differently Than Hoped

Ference was well aware his career in the NHL, at least with the Oilers, was coming to a close earlier than he may have liked. Before it became clear he wouldn't pass physicals and as a result, be placed on long-term injury reserve, he was due to be a seventh defenseman on the Oilers at best. Even if healthy, he was bound to be replaced by younger, up-and-coming talent, both faster and more skilled.

It wasn't the way Ference had hoped to end his career, but he's come to terms with it and is now ready to move on. He'll get paid the final year of his four-year contract with the Oilers, but the team will get salary cap relief. From there, it doesn't look as though Ference will take any sort of role behind the scenes, limiting his work with the Oilers to charity causes that are near and dear to his heart.

Ference's four years with the Oilers weren't exactly what fans would probably call successful, but Ference was a proud captain, a better person and the kind of player that was never supposed to make it, but did.

As a young kid who went to high school with Ference  (I was two years ahead and he was good friends with my younger sister), I got a pretty close look at a young man who has proved to be the kind of captain Oilers fans should be proud of.

But, who cares what I think right? For now, I'll just keep my mouth shut until I feel like spilling my guts again.

Jim Parsons is a business owner, husband, father and sports fan. For more information about founder and Oil Spill articles author Jim Parsons, click here.

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3 Responses to "Andrew Ference All But Officially Retires from the NHL"

  1. You're a really good writer, quickly becoming one of the names I seek out. Keep up the positivity

    1. Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad you enjoy reading the site.

  2. What a great up-lifting story about a great young man, whose hockey career might be over but whose life career is just starting. I loved it.