- Joe McDonald, Reporter, ESPNBoston.com
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WILMINGTON, Mass. -- The old worn, torn and discolored black, white and gold Boston Bruins jacket was a symbol of unity and togetherness during the team’s 2011 Stanley Cup-winning season.
Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference purchased the jacket on eBay late last season. After each win, it was presented to a Bruins player who had a key role in that night’s victory. That player wore it in the locker room and kept it in his stall until the next win, when he would select a new teammate for the accolade.
As Ference explained to the 17,565 fans in attendance during a pregame ceremony on Opening Night last October, the jacket symbolized the respect, hard work and commitment to winning that each player on the 2011 championship team shared.
The players decided to retire the jacket by giving it to Mark Recchi, who officially announced his retirement after last season.
“He taught us what it meant to be champions and how to become champions,” Ference said during his speech.
Recchi accepted the ragged piece of history. Like a true teammate, the future Hall of Famer had the jacket framed and returned it to the Bruins, and it now hangs in the hallway that leads to the team’s workout facility behind the locker room at TD Garden.
That’s where the jacket will stay.
After the Bruins' practice on Monday at Ristuccia Arena, where the Bruins are preparing for their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Washington Capitals, Ference was asked if he had purchased another item for this year’s playoff run.
He said the thought has crossed his mind, but that a token item doesn’t make the team better.
“It’s about the environment that you create throughout the whole year, and if it happens this year, it happens,” Ference said. “If it’s anything forced, [it’s not the same]. That’s why teams talk about road trips, but it’s not the road trip itself, it’s the stories, the inside jokes and the stuff that happens that you can laugh about. It’s that stuff that gets you through and creates an environment for the year.
“When you have something like the jacket, something that will lighten up the room after a game, or something like that helps. Now it’s a pretty intense time of year, it’s a piece of the puzzle, but it’s about the whole atmosphere than one single thing to rally around.
“It was an ingredient in the bigger picture. If something good comes up, it comes up. If not, it doesn’t destroy the thing.”
14dJoe McDonald and Kyle Brasseur