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Still beloved in Boston, Andrew Ference grateful for ‘fairytale’ parting with Bruins

02.01.14 at 12:15 pm ET
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Andrew Ference is happy to have ended Boston's wait. (AP)

Andrew Ference left Boston on good terms. (AP)

In case you missed any of Andrew Ference’s seven years in Boston — and especially the last one — it’s no secret that he and the city had quite the affinity for one another.

It was Ference who pushed the Stanley Cup around the city in a stroller following the team’s victory over the Canucks in 2011 and, most importantly, played a key role in making the Bruins a big part of Boston’s recovery from last April’s marathon bombings.

He didn’t want to leave Boston, but he did so on as good of terms as any athlete ever will. Peter Chiarelli told the veteran defenseman at breakup day following last season that the team would not be re-signing him due to young depth on defense and salary cap concerns. Ference took the news with no hard feelings and spent the days leading up to the first day of free agency, when he signed with his hometown Oilers, parting ways with his new home amicably.

Ference, who was named captain of the Oilers prior to the season, brought his wife and daughters with him for the trip back to Boston this weekend, as he said his family will “always have a special place in our lives for everything that happened here.”

On Friday night, Ference and the Oilers left a pair of Ference t-shirt jerseys at Sal’s Pizza by Boston Common. Two Bruins fans promptly got there and took pictures with the veteran defenseman. Not too many other players can come back like that after leaving.

“I said it when I left, too, that I realized how fortunate I am to kind of leave under those circumstances,” Ference said. “I’ve seen a lot of guys over the course of their careers that get traded at the drop of a hat. They’re packed up and gone the next day and don’t really get a chance to have a long drawn-out goodbye like I did.

“When I was told I wasn’t going to come back here, it was under the best terms with Peter and with the team. They were happy with what I did and I was happy with everything they did, which is great, and then I had the chance to see a bunch of friends and spend some time with people here. It’s special, you know? It’s been about as fairytale as it gets in the sports world from a player’s perspective of how to leave a city and go to a different city, but know that you can come back to open arms.”

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