Sunday, November 19, 2006

Calgary's Ference NHL's Renaissance Man

There are a lot of hockey players who would never be accused of being too 'booky.' Most of them don't spend too much time worrying about politics, or current events or what's happening to children in the 3rd world.

When most players give an interview, the specifics are pretty general. Most players give the same interview and only replace certain nouns like the teams or players involved, while the adjectives and narrative remain the same.

Do not count Andrew Ference among this group. Ference is a renaissance man.

Listening to a pre-game interview on the Fan 960 the other night I realized how easy I found it to pick out Ference as the interviewee. His comments seem...contemplated. When asked if (paraphrased) this team (the Flames) could continue to mirror last year's performance, Ference asked the interviewer to clarify the question:

"This season looks like last, but is it realistic to expect a 7 game winning streak again?"

"Well that's only 2-3 games away, I don't think thats unrealistic. I think we could go to 8-9 games..." (again, paraphrased.)

Then, this weekend in the Herald, an article about how Ference got to sit and chat with an idol of his: David Suzuki. Seems one of Suzuki's assistants read in an article that Suzuki was one of Ference's idols. Ference said it was like the first time he met Lemieux; sky high expectations met. Suzuki was a hit.

I actually saw Ference at the Olympic Oval on Saturday night, promoting the Right to Play organization, an athlete-driven group that promotes the use of sport in 3rd world countries to promote health and peace. (Canada's speed skating/cycling olympic champ Clara Hughes was also there, in fact, being the main event). Once again, Ference takes the road less travelled. (only a handful of other NHLers are in the organization, including Pettinger, Gretzky, Steen, Ovechkin).

Seeing Ference in person was quite an eye-opener in more ways than one. When you see Ference play, you know he gives up an amount of size of players - what you might not have known, is how much. Ference is not 5'10 as claimed by TSN. Ference is 5'8, 5'9 tops. This just further shows how smart a player Ference is. To give up 3-4 inches on the 'average' NHLer, and still be effective and at times dominant is nothing less than impressive. Impressive hockey player, impressive man.

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