Oilers defenseman Andrew Ference, who played in just six games last season due to hip problems, doesn’t anticipate he’ll be able to play again, writes Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal. Ference underwent surgery back in March and while he has been able to ride a bicycle and swim since, he hasn’t yet skated or run since then. While he’s not retiring (he’s still under contract for one more year with a cap hit of $3.25MM and is expected to be placed on LTIR when the season begins), he acknowledges his playing days are over:
“What is the terminology? I have a career-ending injury. That’s the way I’m looking at it.”
Ference believes that the cause of his hip ailment dates back to his time in Boston in a playoff series six years ago:
“There was a playoff series and I snapped my adductor muscle in my groin and wound up having sports hernia surgery. There was a tear in my abdominal wall … I’m pin-pointing it because from that year on, the hip would always flare up.”
Ference has been with the Oilers for the last three seasons but is best known for his time in Boston where he spent seven seasons with the team and won a Stanley Cup back in 2010-11. For his career, the 16 year veteran has suited up in 907 games, collecting 43 goals and 182 assists along with 753 penalty minutes.
Ference was Edmonton’s captain in his first two years with the team before becoming an alternate last season. It’s widely anticipated that 2015 top pick Connor McDavid will get that title this season and the 37 year old believes he’s ready for the job despite the fact that McDavid is still a teenager:
“No doubt about it. He’s so mature and who he is is who he is. He’s not faking it. I don’t care how old a guy is, if you have those qualities, you’re ready, 100 per cent. “It’ll be a real fresh start with the culture of that room, too. That’ll help him immensely. It’s his culture.”
Ference also told Matheson that he doesn’t intend to get involved in the business/management side of the games when he formally retires following the season but would still like to be involved in Edmonton’s charitable ventures.