When he is not fighting with the best players in the NHL -- as he did Thursday night when he tangled with Sidney Crosby -- Boston Bruins defenceman Andrew Ference has more serious matters to deal with, such as saving the world.
Ference recently made headlines when it was announced he was the driving force behind a partnership between the NHL Players' Association and the David Suzuki Foundation to bring eco-friendly initiatives to NHL players in their personal and professional lives.
This is not new for Ference, an Edmonton native. He has been an environmentalist for some time.
"As opposed to living the rich life and consuming as much as possible, people have to take a step back," Ference said in a phone interview. "Instead of buying the biggest diamond or having 18 cars, do other things. Buying the biggest thing is outdated and there is no excuse for it."
Three years ago, Ference traded in his vehicles for hybrid models. But while Ference wants his colleagues to get green-smart, his message is for everyone. The 28-year-old was raised to think outside the box, and further developed his personal philosophies while playing for four seasons for Portland of the Western Hockey League. Living in the Pacific Northwest during his formative years allowed him to hone his left-leaning ways.
"Don't just follow blindly," Ference said. "Think for yourself and form an opinion. It has got me into more trouble than good at times but that's okay.
"I get excited when someone comes up to me on the street and tells me something they've done whether it is taking in a bag for recycling, or when a teammate tells me he bought a book called 50 Ways to Go Green. I get really pumped up about something like that. That tells me that people are taking action.
"One question I get a lot is whether Canadians are more environmental than Americans. I always say Canadians think they are and talk like they are, but when it comes to taking action, they are not."
WEIGHT A MINUTE
Doug Weight had no interest in leaving the St. Louis Blues when the club initially asked him to accept a trade to the Anaheim Ducks.
The Ducks had to clear some cap room before Scott Niedermayer could come back from his non-retirement. But when the Blues made it clear to Weight his ice time would be cut and went back to him a second time, he agreed to the deal. Andy McDonald went to the Blues.
What has been lost a bit is the Ducks, in Weight, got a solid person as well as one with savvy.
"He has been a tremendous presence," Mathieu Schneider said. "He's such an upbeat, emotional guy."
The San Jose Sharks, in their past 10 home games against the Anaheim Ducks and Dallas Stars, are 0-10. The Sharks play host to the Ducks tonight ... Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff remains unhappy his club was unable to sign Daniel Briere last summer. Briere and the Philadelphia Flyers visited Buffalo last night.