Alfredsson honored to enter the Hockey Hall of Fame – Ottawa
OTTAWA – When Daniel Alfredsson arrived in Ottawa in the fall of 1995, the 22-year-old never believed he would one day find himself in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
At that time, the young Swede wasn’t even sure he wanted to play his first season in the NHL, but he persevered and went on to an incredibly successful career that would culminate in his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame on November 2. 14th.
Alfredsson will be inducted alongside fellow Swedes Daniel and Henrik Sedin and goalkeeper Roberto Luongo. Riikka Sallinen of Finland is this year’s female inductee, while the late Herb Carnegie is in the builder category.
“It’s a huge honour,” said Alfredsson, who met with Ottawa media on Tuesday ahead of his induction. “It’s definitely, I don’t know how you put it, validation, no doubt.”
Looking back, Alfredsson recalls that at Christmas that first year, he figured he had about five more months in Canada until the season was over and he could go home.
At that time, the Senators were an organization in turmoil and disarray.
Luckily for the Senators, he stuck it out and now lives in Ottawa. Despite the difficulties of the first year, Alfredsson won the Calder Trophy.
“The first year, I was trying to make sure the team didn’t know much about the NHL,” he recalled. “To be sitting here 27 years later is surreal, because I thought two, three years if things were going well.”
Drafted 133rd overall in the sixth round of the 1994 NHL Entry Draft, it’s clear few saw Alfredsson’s potential and even John Ferguson, the scout who pushed Senators management to select Alfredsson, likely knew the impact. that the young striker would have on struggling players. franchise.
Alfredsson may have been an unknown when he started out in the league, but there’s no doubting the impact he left in Ottawa.
The 49-year-old spent 18 seasons in the NHL, including 17 with the Senators. He captained the team from 1999 to 2013.
Although he never won the Stanley Cup, Alfredsson carved out an incredible career that saw the Senators make 11 consecutive playoff appearances from 1997 to 2008. His 426 goals, 682 assists and 1,108 points are all franchise records.
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Alfredsson hasn’t always been the most talented player on the Senators roster, but you could never argue with his efforts.
“I’ve always prided myself on trying to give my best and doing everything I can to help the team win,” Alfredsson said. “I was good at working hard. It wasn’t easy, but I got good at it.
Alfredsson seemed destined to be a senator for life, but a contract dispute in the summer of 2013 saw him sign with Detroit as a free agent. He only played one season with the Red Wings due to recurring back problems.
Alfredsson then signed a one-day contract with Ottawa in order to retire as a member of the Senators, but there was no denying the friction between him and owner Eugene Melnyk over the next few years.
While other former players took on different roles, Alfredsson was noticeably absent.
Melnyk passed away earlier this year in March and the relationship with the organization now appears to be on the mend, and that bodes well as any involvement from Alfredsson will be beneficial.
“It’s important to just be associated,” Alfredsson said. “But it’s the relationship. I think that’s what I like the most. If I want to come and watch practice or take my kids to watch practice, I’m welcome. That’s what matters most. I really appreciate that.
“It seems important to me that it’s a good relationship.”
Alfredsson’s last game with the Senators was against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2013 playoffs, but his legacy lives on, as evidenced in the Senators’ home opener last week when the 49-year-old dropped the puck and players and fans were mesmerized by his presence.
“I really enjoyed being at that home opener and watching the response and seeing the start of the game,” Alfredsson said. “Obviously they get the goal early and the lead, but also the energy. I think that’s the biggest measuring stick for me.
As talented as Alfredsson has proven to be on the ice, it’s his ability to connect with people that has made him so revered.
Alfredsson shared his personality on and off the ice. Few will forget when he broke his stick and mocked Mats Sundin claiming he was going to throw his own stick into the stands. Or fire a puck at Scott Niedermayer in frustration in Game 4 of the 2007 Stanley Cup Final. His outspoken personality shone through when he spoke to the media and fans.
He was a Senators captain, plus a husband, father of four young boys and an active supporter of mental health initiatives in Ottawa. Any weekend, Alfredsson could be found at local rinks helping coach his young boys or lending his time to various charitable endeavors.
The induction weekend will include a hockey game, but Alfredsson said the only hockey he’s played lately was while coaching his sons.
“I can’t wait to play the game and get on the ice,” he said. “I feel comfortable enough to be able to hold on.”
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on October 25, 2022.
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