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Ference Recalls Draft Day Experience

Tuesday, 06.19.2012 / 2:11 PM / Features
By Joe Gallagher  -
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Ference Recalls Draft Day Experience – Every NHL player remembers the life-changing experience of the NHL Entry Draft, whether he was a teenage phenomenon headlining the nationally televised event, or watching from home with his family like Andrew Ference.

“[When] I got a phone call about getting drafted I was watching some movie – probably like the Goonies or something,” Ference said of the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. “I was just hanging out with my sister and my agent called me and said that I got drafted to Pittsburgh in the 8th round.”

The Draft was held in Pittsburgh when Ference was selected with the 208th overall pick, in the same city where the 2012 NHL Entry Draft will be held this Friday and Saturday.

However, Ference chose not to attend the '97 Draft in person.

“I wasn’t rated going into the Draft or anything like that,” Ference said. “So there was pretty much no point of me going.”

He recalled receiving that phone call every young player dreams about, when his agent informed him that the Penguins had selected him.

“I was ecstatic.”

For Ference, being drafted by Pittsburgh was particularly special.

“I had Mario [Lemieux]’s jersey, and [they were] one of my favorite teams. So for me, I was pretty proud.”

Although Ference wasn’t at the draft, it didn’t put a damper on the celebration.

“I did get a jersey from the draft, you know the standard Pittsburgh one, but I had to build my own little stage at home and all that,” Ference said, laughing about his unique experience.

Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli spoke about the management side of drafting in the late rounds.

“Usually what happens is, you put a player there that, ideally, if you get in the seventh, that’s great, but maybe he’s a fifth rounder,” Chiarelli said. “So you have to really look long and hard as to that player and the attributes of that player, and so you come up with these clusters, and then at the end of the year, you make your list around these clusters.”

Ference, who was on the other side of draft day uncertainty, clearly caught someone’s eye in the Pittsburgh organization.

“Just to know I had a foot in the door was a pretty awesome feeling,” Ference said.

Chiarelli also touched on the communication between scouts and management on drafting late players with high potential.

“We tell our scouts, ‘Give me your sleeper and give me your list of sleepers.’”

Ference has developed into a solid presence on the blue line throughout his career, making heavy contributions since being traded to the Bruins in 2007.

B's fans may remember the 1997 draft for the first round acquisitions of Sergei Samsonov and Joe Thornton, but there was another Thornton taken late in the same draft who played alongside Ference.

In 2007, the Bruins signed forward Shawn Thornton, who was originally taken in the 1997 Entry Draft by Toronto with the 190th pick, just 18 spots ahead of Ference.

Despite being considered “sleepers” when taken in the late rounds in 1997, they certainly weren’t dreaming when Ference and Thornton personally exchanged the Stanley Cup during the hoisting ceremony last June.




1 MTL 63 41 17 5 171 139 87
2 TBL 65 39 20 6 213 171 84
3 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
4 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
5 FLA 64 28 23 13 156 181 69
6 OTT 61 27 23 11 173 166 65
7 TOR 64 26 33 5 173 195 57
8 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43


P. Bergeron 61 18 26 4 44
L. Eriksson 61 14 21 2 35
R. Smith 62 12 23 11 35
B. Marchand 57 18 16 8 34
M. Lucic 61 13 21 11 34
D. Hamilton 62 10 24 0 34
C. Soderberg 62 10 24 6 34
T. Krug 58 11 20 6 31
D. Krejci 38 7 19 7 26
C. Kelly 60 7 19 8 26
T. Rask 25 16 9 .920 2.34
N. Svedberg 6 5 0 .917 2.39
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