Fern scored only 34 goals in 910 game, which doesn't seem like much for a player that spent 15 years in the NHL. But that wasn't his job. He specialized in blocking shots and spilling rivals with vicious body checks. No less an authority than Gordie Howe called Fern, "The toughest defenseman I ever played against."
Fern was on the the founders of the NHL Players Associations and, following his retirement as a player in 1961, he coached for 19 years at Northeastern university. Fern was acclaimed not only for his playing accomplishments but for his contributions to the game, earning a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame with the Class of 1990.