Bruins’ Andrew Ference reacts to return of NHL hockey
If you think you’re happy the NHL and NHLPA finally solved their issues and agreed on a new CBA, imagine how Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference feels. As someone involved directly in the negotiations, Ference was the perfect person to describe the last few days of talks, and appeared on WEEI Monday morning to sound off.
“I’m definitely relieved, but in many ways happy to be back playing, happy that the fans can actually come back and watch some hockey and stop talking about boardroom chatter, and relieved also because I saw how close it came from both sides to pulling the plug on the season,” Ference said via ESPN.
He said the players didn’t exactly “win” in the settlement, with their only gains in his opinion coming in terms of pensions and getting your own room while on the road at a younger age. Ference also noted it was certainly concessionary bargaining at play.
And while the players can return to the ice and arenas can welcome NHL fans, the league can’t expect the same level of attention it had last year. Especially in Boston, where the fan base grew exponentially when the Bruins brought home the cup in 2011 – while the diehards would be back no matter what, you have to expect some fringe fans will direct their attention and money elsewhere.
“It will vary [from city to city] for sure. Everybody gets it, that this process sucks. Everything is negative around your sport, you know all you hear and read about is the spin or positioning of different sides,” Ference said. “It just leaves a sour taste in everybody’s mouth. … We get how everybody was mad, and I guess all you can really do is not patronize them, and not just say thanks and hope it’s alright. I think everybody understands we have to go out there and put a good product out and try to make people proud, and not pretend that this wasn’t awful. Everybody knows it was awful.”