Sep 30 2013, 12:55am CDT | by Poch de la Rosa
This is confirmed by the Edmonton Sun's Derek Van Diest, who adds Ference will be the franchise's 14th team captain in their existence. Ference, who was signed by Edmonton as a free agent this season after spending seven years with the Boston Bruins whom he won a Stanley Cup with in 2011, succeeds Shawn Horcoff.
Ference, a native of Edmonton, said being Oilers team captain is "the ultimate honor," per the NHL's official website.
"It's not something that I could have accurately guessed would have happened for myself. It's been an incredible ride. Every year that I got closer to making it, and then finally making it to the NHL, the privilege of being in this league became more and more apparent.
"To be able to come back to my hometown and put on the Oilers jersey, letter or not, I know how fortunate I am. It's an ultimate honor."
Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins actually made the announcement in a gathering attended by players, their wives, coaches, training staff and management at owner Daryl Katz's residence on September 28, according to Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal.
Eakins said Ference is the ideal leader.
"He's everything you look for...you start rattling off words like 'complete,' 'honest,' 'commitment' --- this young man has everything you want in a leader.
"He's the most important man in this organization because he has to unite the players. He's the captain. They're all in with a common goal (winning) and he has to include them all, push them in the right direction, inspire them. He has a lot of different jobs."
Ference's teammate and Oilers left wing Taylor Hall says it's a great move.
"I think it's great. He has a lot of experience in winning and that's important for our group. We don't really have a lot of that, especially with the young guys here. He's come in, he's really taken charge off-ice and on-ice, he's a really good guy and I think it's the right move for us."
The 34-year-old Ference is entering his 14th NHL season. An eighth-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1997, he has amassed 37 goals and 156 assists for 193 points to go along with 645 penalty minutes so far.
He has also suited up for the Calgary Flames.
Poch de la Rosa
Poch de la Rosa follows all major U.S. sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA. His favorite teams are the Colts, Braves, Pacers, Sharks and Irish, respectively.
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