Bruins happy Ference named Oilers captain

Bruins happy Ference named Oilers captain
September 29, 2013, 2:30 pm
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(USA Today Sports)

Once it was official that Andrew Ference was leaving Boston and signing with the Edmonton Oilers, Claude Julien had privately hoped the veteran defenseman would be named captain of the talented, young Oil crew.

So it was good news all around on Sunday as the 34-year-old old Ference was named the captain of the Oilers, and will help lead a skilled cast of youngsters that includes Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle and Justin Schultz in their quest to crack the playoffs for the first time. Edmonton head coach Dallas Eakins and the Oilers coaching staff couldn’t have hoped for a better candidate than Ference, who embodies the toughness, acceptance and team-first mindset every good, young hockey club could stand to possess.

It also doesn’t hurt that Ference was a Stanley Cup champion, has been to three Stanley Cup Finals in his career and has played in a whopping 120 career playoff games in his 13-year career.

“I just sent him a text to congratulate him. I think he’s deserving, everybody knows him here, knows what kind of a person he was and what kind of a leader he was on and off the ice,” said Claude Julien. “They’ve got a young team over there. The minute he signed there, in the back of my mind, I thought he had an opportunity to become the captain. I think they made a great choice — very deserving and because of what he is and what he represents, and what he does for a hockey team.”

Ference left behind a vacant ‘A’ on his sweater from his team with the Boston Bruins that he rotated wearing, home and away, with Chris Kelly for the last two years. Julien and Co. are still deciding which player will rotate the alternate captaincy with Kelly in Boston for the upcoming season.

Shawn Thornton, Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Johnny Boychuk, Dennis Seidenberg, Gregory Campbell, Daniel Paille and Adam McQuaid all took turns wearing the “A” on their sweater during the preseason, so there no shortage of candidates in Black and Gold. Perhaps one day one of them will wear a ‘C’ on their sweater just as Ference will in his native Edmonton for this year, and beyond.