After being passed around the Bruins locker room throughout the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs, the team’s Army Ranger jacket, given to the player of the game following each playoff win, has found a permanent home.
Prior to his departure to Edmonton, former Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference stopped by the home of former Norwood High hockey player Matt Brown Thursday to award the jacket one last time. Following his visit, Ference tweeted he “couldn’t think of a more worthy final recipient” than Brown.
Brown was paralyzed in 2010 after breaking his fourth and fifth cervical vertebrae in a hockey game against Weymouth. He is now a sophomore at Stonehill College.
“When I knew I wasn’t going to be re-signed here, I knew I had a lot of people I wanted to say goodbye to,” Ference said. “I was thinking of Matty and I admire his attitude.
“Everything the jacket represented, he’s just that to a T, so I knew it would be special to him and I knew it would be special to me.”
Ference contacted Brown on Wednesday to ask if he could stop by the next day before he headed out of town. Brown suspected the former Bruin just wanted to say goodbye.
“He came in with a bag and I wasn’t expecting really anything, I just wanted to see him,” Brown said. “I wanted to wish him luck and when he pulled it out, I just felt all the breath leave my body, I was really shocked and really excited.”
Brown and Ference have become close friends since Brown’s injury.
“Every game I go to I see him, he’s always checking to see how I’m doing and I’m checking to see how he’s doing,” Brown said.
Ference took the jacket following the Bruins’ break-up day, and wasn’t sure what to do with it. It was either going to be hung up in the basement of his Canada home, or he was going to pass it along to someone who deserved it.
“I think the whole purpose of that thing is to represent people and it doesn’t get much more special than him,” Ference said.
When Ference stopped by Brown’s home on Thursday, he assured Brown his home was the proper place for the Army jacket to retire.
“It’s been in the house for a couple hours,” Brown said. “I’ve really just been looking at it really shocked, but my family and I want to find a good place to put it.”