Andrew Ference was selected in the eight round(208th overall) by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. At the time of his selection he was in his second year with the Portland Winter Hawks, a team in the Western Hockey League(WHL). (Cam Neely is also a Winter Hawks alumni.) Ference spent two more years in Portland. He also served a brief stint in the now defunct International Hockey League(IHL), playing for the Kansas City Blades.
Ference made his NHL debut on October 1st, 1999 in a game against the Dallas Stars. He earned his first NHL goal on November 13 of that year, playing against the Nashville Predators. Andrew spent the ’99-’00 season vacillating between the Penguins and their AHL affiliate the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. He put up eight goals and twenty assists for Wilkes-Barre, and two goals with four assists for Pittsburgh.
The 2000-01 season found Ference again alternating between the AHL and the NHL. (6 goals/18 assists -AHL, 4 goals/11 assists-NHL) It was with the Penguins that Ference got his first NHL playoff experience. He scored three goals and seven assists before the Penguins were eliminated by the New Jersey Devils.
The 2001-02 season found Ference as a full time NHL player. He put up eleven points and seventy three penalty minutes. On February 9, 2003, in the middle of the 2002–03 season, Ference was traded to the Calgary Flames. (He earned four points for both clubs.) The next season, he registered 16 points with 4 goals and 12 assists for Calgary. He also played 26 playoff games posting 3 assists. Calgary reached the Stanley Cup Finals, where they lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
With the 2004–05 NHL season suspended due to a lockout, Ference played in the Czech Republic for HC České Budějovice. Ference returned to the Flames when the NHL re-started the ’05-’06 season. Ference played all eighty two games, scoring a career high 31 points.(4 goals, 27 assists).
Ference’s Boston career started in the middle of the ’06-’07 season. On February 10, 2007, he was traded, along with teammate Chuck Kobasew, to the Boston Bruins for defenseman Brad Stuart and center Wayne Primeau. He played his first game as a Bruin on February 13 against Edmonton. He scored his first point on March 11th,(against the Detroit Red Wings, also his career 100th point in the NHL.) and scored his first goal on April 5th in a match against the Buffalo Sabres. Ference was not a high scorer, but he battled with an intensity that reminded Bruins Nation of the greats a generation ago.
Ference spent the next few seasons as a man who fought for the puck, and a self-appointed minister of justice for those who would cheap shot his teammates. One example would be in a Habs/Bruins match. Subban high checked Krejci, and Ference “issued a directed objection”. Some players on the team are noted for their speed, some for their fists, but Ference got a reputation for being the man that would throw down not for himself, but to defend his team. He’s also been known for a few colorful gestures. (He was fined by the league for that one.) Ference finally got his well deserved moment with the Cups when the Bruins won the Stanley Cup of June 15, 2011. He also earned the “A” on his chest for his work as a team-player and a leader on the ice.
This last season saw Ference rack up his second best scoring season in his career. Andrew has earned a reputation as a professional. An aggressive puck mover who can play both sides. The team can count on him as a second-pairing defenseman. Ference can easily be seen as a stabilizing force on the third pair. “He certainly can move the puck well. He moves himself very well across that blue line. When he can get his shots through, he’s certainly a big asset to our power play, ” offered Coach Julien last season. “Throughout the course of the season, you’re going to see guys move around. He’s certainly a guy we feel can go in and do that job.’’