BOSTON — Edmonton Oilers defenseman Andrew Ference had a forgettable stat line on Saturday afternoon. The veteran blue liner was on the ice for all four goals his team allowed and a fifth that was disallowed by video review. But when he looks back on this particular day, it’s likely he won’t remember it for that performance.
Ference will likely remember Saturday as the day he was warmly welcomed back to Boston where he spent a good chunk of his career on the way to becoming one of the city’s favorite athletes. His return Saturday was his first since signing with Edmonton in the offseason, and the Bruins and their fans tried to make it special. Ference was honored with a video tribute and an ensuing standing ovation in the first period as his time with the team was remembered.
“It was nicer than the game,” Ference said after his club’s 4-0 loss to the Bruins.
“Obviously, [I was] very well treated by the organization and the city while I was here and while I left and throughout this year too. It’s obviously a tremendous hockey city and the organization has been nothing but great to me so that’s very, very special.”
Ference was greeted with warm applause as soon as he hopped over the boards for his first shift. He was also honored across the arena with a handful of homemade “Welcome back” signs from the sellout crowd in attendance.
“I was pretty nervous before the game, [Bruins media relations] gave me the heads up that [the video] was coming so I was ready for that,” Ference added. “Obviously a lot of memories and a lot of support, it’s hard not to obviously feel very welcomed and extremely appreciative.”