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Cup makes local stop: Spaulding

Ference brings it to rehab hospital

By Fluto Shinzawa
Globe Staff / September 6, 2011

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Yesterday morning, the Stanley Cup arrived at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in a most unusual manner.

The 35-pound trophy was nestled into a red bike trailer usually occupied by Ava and Stella Ference. As Andrew Ference pedaled his powder blue Felt road bike toward the hospital, flanked by Boston police officers on two-wheeled detail, his daughters had to seek alternate transportation.

Since the Bruins lifted the Cup over their heads June 15 in Vancouver, it has seen its share of locales. It has been to Europe with Zdeno Chara, David Krejci, Tuukka Rask, and Tomas Kaberle. It was dented in an off-a-table tumble in Newfoundland when it was under the watch of Michael Ryder. It returned to the scene of the crime last month when East Vancouver native Milan Lucic brought the Cup back to British Columbia.

But until yesterday, no player had shepherded the Cup in Boston.

Ference had his options. The defenseman was born in Edmonton. His offseason home is in Vernon, British Columbia. Ference has known Boston only since February of 2007, when he arrived from Calgary along with Chuck Kobasew in a trade for Brad Stuart, Wayne Primeau, and a draft pick.

But after four years of living in the North End, Ference has learned that Boston is another place he can call home. He has been a spokesman for the MBTA. He often rides his bike to and from TD Garden. His shopping ranges from organic vegetables at Whole Foods on Cambridge Street to fresh pasta at Monica’s to coffee at Polcari’s.

“With the kids going to school here and us being in our community, we have more friends here than we do in any other city,’’ said Ference. “It’s really special to do it here and celebrate with people that have been waiting a long time. It makes it really great.’’

With approximately 50 friends and relatives in town, having traveled from Western Canada, Ference and his family celebrated his day with the Cup. One of his first stops was at the downtown preschool that older daughter Ava once attended and where Stella will be a student.

After that, Ference brought the Cup to Spaulding, just around the corner from the Garden. Since his landing via Calgary, Ference has been visiting Spaulding; he cited its adaptive sports program - patients participate in activities such as kayaking and wall climbing - as something that has inspired him upon his visits.

After unbuckling his green helmet, prying the Cup out of the trailer, and placing his bike on its side in front of the hospital, Ference brought the trophy up the stairs. Two of his first greeters were Dick and Rick Hoyt.

“Good to see this thing, huh? You’ve been waiting a while,’’ Ference said to the Hoyts, his fingers curled around the Cup. “I’d shake your hand. But this thing is heavy.’’

Ference then brought the Cup to the cafe on the second floor. He was introduced by Mayor Thomas Menino.

“He chose to spend part of his day at Spaulding,’’ Menino said. “That tells you the quality of the individual. When I saw the hockey players during the Stanley Cup, they’re really rooted in the neighborhoods. They’re not these guys who make a gazillion dollars and don’t care about fans, don’t care where they come from. I’ve found that the hockey players are so rooted with real people and dealing with real people’s problems.’’

Ference issued his thanks and repeated his affinity for Spaulding. He then carried the Cup around the cafe. Visitors took pictures and touched the Cup.

For Ference, his most treasured times with the Cup were on the Rogers Arena ice, in the dressing room, and on the charter back to Boston. But after waiting more than two months for a reunion - Ference was the final player to have his day with the Cup - yesterday marked a day not unlike his wedding.

“We’ve been building up, planning, and doing all this stuff,’’ he said. “It’s exciting. It’s a chance for us to share something special with everybody else. It’s a blast. It’s great.’’

After an hour at Spaulding, Ference repacked the Cup into his trailer. Then, accompanied by his bike detail, he hung a left on Nashua Street and rode back toward the North End. Pizzeria Regina was awaiting.

Forward Chris Clark has accepted a tryout invitation from the Bruins, according to agent Peter Fish. Clark, along with the other Bruins veterans, will report to TD Garden Sept. 16 for a physical and fitness testing to open training camp.

Clark, a native of South Windsor, Conn., has played in the NHL for 11 seasons. Last year, he scored five goals and had 10 assists in 53 games for the Blue Jackets.

After beginning his career in Calgary, Clark was the Capitals’ captain for four seasons. He was traded to Columbus along with ex-Bruin Milan Jurcina for Jason Chimera on Dec. 28, 2009. Clark’s best season was in 2006-07 with Washington, when he scored 30 goals and had 24 assists in 74 games.

The 6-foot, 191-pound Clark is well respected around the league. The right-shot wing plays a heavy two-way game and will contend for a bottom-six role.

Last year, the Bruins extended a tryout to Brian McGrattan. The former Ottawa tough guy made the team. However, McGrattan never appeared in a game and was assigned to Providence Nov. 9. On Feb. 27, the Bruins traded McGrattan and Sean Zimmerman to Anaheim for Stefan Chaput and David Laliberte.

Under general manager Peter Chiarelli’s watch, the team’s most successful invitation was in 2007 to Glen Metropolit. The veteran center appeared in 82 games, tallying 11 goals and 22 assists.

Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at fshinzawa@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeFluto.

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