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Andrew Ference’s seven seasons in Boston had seen the Bruins go from afterthought to main attraction in the city, as he witnessed a rebuilding of the brand, the team, and the culture, culminating in the 2011 Stanley Cup.
Ference returned on Saturday to a standing ovation at 12:45 of the first period, appropriate for the leadership he showed and the changes he helped bring about with the Bruins.
As a tribute video played on the Jumbotron, the Garden got louder and louder, and Ference, wearing the Oilers’ “C,” gave a wave from the bench as his new teammates also stood.
After the game, Ference said of the tribute, “It was nicer than the game.”