'Cold water in the face'

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:51 AM ET

DETROIT -- Reality slapped Andrew Ference in the face just after 10 p.m. Eastern time Saturday night.

He was on the bus with the rest of his Calgary Flames teammates after a hurried exit from Buffalo's HSBC Arena following a 3-2 shootout loss to the Sabres when he realized something was amiss.

"We finished playing the game, just leaving the game like normal. Jimmy's (coach Jim Playfair) telling us all to hurry up, make sure the bus leaves right away. Everybody hurried up. I was sitting on the bus, sitting right in front of Iggy, so we were just talking and Iggy's like, 'Something's up, we're not leaving, what's going on?' "

They noticed several coaches missing and Jarome Iginla's initial curiosity turned to confidence something was happening.

"He said, 'Something's going down.' I was like, 'Oh? What do you think?' " recalled Ference less than 24 hours after he found out he was dealt to the Bruins with pal Chuck Kobasew for Brad Stuart and Wayne Primeau.

"Sure enough, five minutes later Rich Preston came on the bus, walked back and just kind of said, 'Andy, we've traded you to Boston' and walked off the bus."

Those words were the last ones Ference expected to hear after signing a long-term contract extension through 2010 earlier this season.

"I was extremely shocked. The guys were shocked. It was pretty tough -- get a quick little goodbye to a bunch of your good buddies. Quick byes on the bus and then dig my luggage off from underneath," said Ference, the emotion still evident in his voice. "The bus took off and Toni Lydman gave me a ride to the hotel."

That a former teammate had to escort him to his sleeping quarters -- where he got about an hour of shuteye before jetting to Boston to participate in their practice -- wasn't the haymaker that hit Ference hardest. It was the realization loyalty isn't always a two-way street in the hockey business.

The 27-year-old Alberta native, who calls Canmore home in the off-season and shared a duplex with Kobasew in Calgary, gave up free agency this summer to sign a three-year extension during the pre-season.

"The hardest thing about that is the whole reason I signed the extension and gave up my free agency was to stay at home and play for Calgary," said Ference. "To go from that and having a lot of trust in the deal ... it's definitely a huge glass of cold water in the face of anybody that thinks it's not all about the business, really.

"It's definitely a wakeup call. There's no loyalty when it comes to stuff like that."

Ference says the hardest part will be leaving all the good friends he's made on the team behind but still plans to return to the Rockies every summer. At least he gets to bring a friend with him in Kobasew and reunite with a "fired-up" Shean Donovan.

Kobasew has to wait for a new work visa to come in before joining the Bruins but played on a championship team at Boston College in 2001.

"I'm really looking forward to it," Kobasew, sidelined another few weeks with a fractured elbow, said in a statement released by the Bruins.

"It's disappointing to leave Calgary but I did play two years of my career in Boston -- one at Boston College and one at Lowell in the AHL."

Ference and Kobasew have been chatting a lot since the deal was announced.

"I talked to Chuck lots. He called me right away as soon as he found out. We share a duplex in the city, so the whole neighbourhood's gone," said Ference.

Generally a positive person, Ference said he's putting on his "rose-coloured" glasses and hopes he can build something in Boston similar to what he enjoyed with in Calgary.

"It's a franchise that's proud, a city that's proud of its sports. They've gone through some rough years but you've got a young, promising group of guys," said Ference. "It's hard not to look at some similarities (with) when I first came to Calgary. Here's a real opportunity to duplicate something special like we had there, starting to bring some pride back to a really proud hockey organization.

"I've got a lot of enthusiasm to hopefully be a part of something like that again."


Videos

Photos