BOSTON – Boston Bruins defenseman and environmental enthusiast Andrew Ference spent his Sunday afternoon helping the Emerald Necklace Conservancy by hosting a series of youth street hockey clinics at its premier Circle the City family festival at Playstead Fields in Franklin Park.
The event marked the first of three Circle the City festivals this summer, which are aimed at attracting parents and children to the numerous parks and green spaces Boston has to offer.
“We have a ton of parks and some beautiful areas in Boston,” Ference said following the event. “The greater picture is just kind of getting people out into the outdoors and enjoying Boston’s wealth of parks and great places for kids to come out.”
The B’s defenseman said his wife Krista originally became involved with the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, and encouraged him to learn more about their efforts. After attending a few fundraisers, Ference said he’s happy to lend a hand promoting the group’s message.
“I think that you can almost live in the city and forget that you have these great spaces here, and they’re doing such a great job of maintaining them, and expanding them, and making them as user-friendly as possible.
“So they’ve been a great group to meet and be involved with, and obviously if we can help out any way we can with an event like this, it’s really our pleasure.”
Ference’s youth hockey clinics were a big hit with the parents and the children at the festival. The hour-long sessions featured street hockey scrimmages and shootout drills to practice stick-handling and shooting, and of course, plenty of water breaks to keep everyone hydrated in the summer heat.
“This was a small part of a bigger thing and obviously our expertise is hockey,” Ference said of the clinics. “So we got all of the kids signed up for street hockey and did three sessions. It was great.”
Between the three clinics, there were more than 50 participants donning yellow and blue pinnies, ranging in ages from four to fourteen and evenly split between boys and girls. Some had heard about the event through other youth hockey organizations, while others had never played hockey before and simply stumbled upon it at the festival.
Either way, all involved seemed to enjoy themselves with the street hockey and myriad of other activities offered at the event, including Ference and his oldest daughter Ava, who played in the second session.
“I looked over and there was Frisbee golf, there was basketball, and tennis going on, and people flying kites, and we’ve got the [Boston] Pops here.
“So it’s a really great event – it was just a lot of fun just to be a part of.”