The Uncommon Training of Andrew Ference (english version)

Original article appeared in Radio-Canada.ca written in French by our future recruit Renaud St-Laurent. Our tribes-lady Diana Hunt was kind enough to translate all the great things that Renaud shared with his audience north of Vermont.

Thursday, 11 July 2013 at 11:47 | by Renaud St-Laurent (translation by Diana Hunt)|

Train in the company of an NHL player and Olympic Athletes? In Boston, it’s possible.

The homage is symbolic. To celebrate the departure of one of the pillars of the group, they sang the Canadian National Anthem.

The result won’t go down in history, but the idea is to participate. That is the motto of November Project

Wednesday, many dozens of participants saluted Andrew Ference. After seven seasons with the Bruins, the veteran defender departs Boston this weekend to establish himself in his hometown (birthplace) of Edmonton. This past Friday, after the opening of free agent season, he signed a four-year contract with the Oilers.

Professionally, Ference leaves behind teammates with whom he has experienced indescribably emotional moments, notably when hoisting the precious Stanley Cup.

On a personal note, he leaves behind a group of individuals that have helped him maintain the physical strength necessary for a 34-year old athlete in the NHL, but more than that, people who have helped him become a better citizen.

“To be the best person I can be. To be fit, healthy, of course, but also to be part of something bigger. To be a good neighbor and a part of a community”, emphasizes Ference in a telephone interview with Radio-Canada Sports.

November Project is a cross between CrossFit and a flash mob. This non-sanctioned community, founded in 2011, is organized with social media and gathers about 200 people three times weekly to workout in the open air.

With the help of Twitter and Facebook, Brogan Graham and Bojan Mandaric, the two organizers of the project, congregate the tribe for the next morning session.

“Monday, we do push-ups and sit-ups in a different location every week, relates the hockey player. Wednesday, we attack the stadium and its many steps, and Friday, we run hills.”
The community has become a kind of cult for its participants. The two craftsmen of the project, former university level rowers, are not trainers, but motivators.

“Having a good leader is so important. Everything starts because you want to be there for the other.”

“No matter the weather, no matter if they’ve drunk too much beer the night before, they will be there for each other.”

Before the workout, the hugs

The motivation is necessary because rising before dawn is necessary to train at 6:30am. The desire stems from fun, a principle that serves as a foundation of November Project.

In response to an individualistic society driven by electronic devices, the principal objective of the group is interaction, not getting in shape.

“We see a generation growing up with Facebook and Twitter, and we thing we are starting to lose the face-to-face interaction and the principle of living in a community, emphasizes Ference. I believe this type of project proves the opposite. That’s what makes it so popular. It is contagious to be in a group of enthusiastic, positive people.

“If you do one thing like this, it leads to others. This type of project is the spark that motivates you to be involved.”

Ference joined November Project because he already practiced this type of exercise, but alone. For him, the work of the team is more fun and stimulating. His initiative is the image of a new generation of hockey players, more open minded and who wish to try out new things.
“You can’t create one training program for all the players on a team. Zdeno Chara has needs that are different from mine”, he suggests.

“With all the information available now, if you want to try something different, now is the time!”

Ference would like to find volunteers to launch a Alberta version of November Project in Edmonton. He lacks only an inspirational leader, he says. Similar groups have already been formed in Chicago, Houston, New York and Denver.

Oilers, the time is now

With the Oilers, Ference adopts the same attitude as with his training partners.
“The most beautiful lesson I learned through the course of my career is to always dive in head first, he avows. Don’t dip your toes in the water, dive.”

Close to his family and his friends, he does not fear the pressure. Especially as the young Oilers begin to feel it.

“The word that we hear most often to describe this team is potential. They would like to stop hearing that and start to be described as warriors of the series.” says Ference.

“I’ve spoken with several guys in the last few days. I sensed they have a real desire to eliminate the negative connotation and to prove themselves. It is really cool to arrive in such an atmosphere.”

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