Daniel Alfredsson was in Sweden when he received the call, he thought he was never going to get.
In typical Alfredsson fashion, he joked he thought it may have been his insurance company contacting him. However, when “Alfie” found it was Hockey Hall of Fame Committee chair Mike Gartner and chairman of the HHOF board Lanny McDonald, he was pleasantly surprised.
“Thank you very much, guys. I can’t tell you how much it means to me, but to the City of Ottawa as well. I thought there might be a chance this would happen, but at the same time, I thought there might be a chance it wouldn’t happen. Obviously, I want to thank you guys and the whole committee. You voted for me to get in. I’m truly humbled and honoured,” Alfredsson said on the call Monday afternoon.
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This year marked the fifth year of eligibility for the 49-year-old. And with no inductions for the past two due to the pandemic, competition to enter the Hall was fierce.
Entering the Hall along with Alfredsson on November 14 are the Sedin twins, Daniel and Henrik, goalie Roberto Luongo, Finnish Women’s great Riika Sallinen in addition to Herb Carnegie, a Canadian trailblazer when it came to pledging diversity in the builder’s category.
Though he spent his 18th and final NHL campaign suiting up for the Detroit Red Wings due to wanting to chase a Cup with fellow Swedes Nicklas Lidstrom and Henrik Zetterberg, Alfredsson remains revered in Ottawa.
On a Zoom call set up by the Senators Tuesday morning, Alfredsson spoke of all that influenced and mentored him throughout his playing career from the time he was a youngster in Gothenburg.
“There’s quite a few people. My dad (Hasse) starting coaching me at a young age. The coaches around him too, Tommy and Bengt. We weren’t very good. We’d lose 15-1, but they always made it fun. Then there were the other coaches, Dick Karlsson, is the one I had in junior. I just remembered it was very open. They allowed me to play my style of game. They didn’t try to take it away. But the biggest is probably mom (Margareta) and dad, the work ethic they installed. That’s the biggest reason I was able to make it to the NHL. I didn’t take the easy route, but I a lot of time and effort in. I loved training. I was good at it. That’s how I was able to stand out a little more than some of my peers here in Sweden growing up”
As a profession, Alfredsson admired two of his former Senators’ head coaches, .Jacques Martin and Bryan Murray and the club’s staff members, “Jacques Martin had a big impact on us. Turning things around for the organization – making us a very consistent, good hockey team. Bryan Murray, a little bit of a different style of coaching than Jacques – a little more offensive. I found I excelled even more. We had a good team, good linemates. Those years were probably the most fun I had in my career as a pro. You knew we were going to score four-five goals every game. You knew it wasn’t going to last forever, but when we did, it was a lot of fun. Then there’s a lot of background workers, staff, equipment guys – it helps you when the times are tough. When you retire now, when you’re celebrated, everybody looks at the good stuff. But there’s also been years when it’s been ough and I thought about retiring, You have a staff and people around that makes it fun, you want to come to the rink. You feel good a huge impact off the ice. There’s a lot of people that make a career possible. They’re a big part of this honour I’m receiving now.”
The native of Gothenburg is the greatest player to don a Senators uniform. Erik Karlsson remains a distant second.
Alfredsson, who gained Canadian citizenship in September 2016, spoke of the importance of being the first full-time modern-day Senator to enter the Hall via Zoom Tuesday morning, “I think any time there’s a first, it stands out – the first time us making the playoffs – first time winning a playoff series – first time going to the Stanley Cup Final – I think the fans that have been around the team, those are the things that stand out. It’s the same thing with this. I’m obviously extremely proud and honoured to be included in the Hall of Fame. I feel the fans and team feel the same way. It’s a cool milestone.”
Alfredsson’s accomplishments on and off the ice are Hall of Fame worthy. Among them are:
Games – 1178 rank 2nd
Goals – 426 rank 1st
Assist – 682 rank 1st
Points – 1108 rank 1st
Games – 121 rank 1st
Goals – 51 ranks 1st
Assists – 49 ranks 1st
Points – 100 ranks 1st
Senators’ captain 1999-2013 – First European-born and trained to make it to the Stanley Cup Final (2007)
Calder Trophy (1996)
King Clancy Memorial Trophy (2012)
Mark Messier Leadership Award (2013)
IIHF Hall of Fame inductee
2006 Olympic Gold
2014 Olympic Silver
Off the ice, Alfredsson is a community leader in advocating ending the stigma of Mental Health, supporting the Royal Ottawa Foundation and is a champion for the Ottawa Boys and Girls Club.
He was awarded the Meritorious Service Cross in 2016 by the Governor-General of Canada.
Alfredsson holds the honour of having his number 11 hanging in the rafters of the Canadian Tire Centre – the first modern-day Senators player to do so.
His local popularity knows no bounds. long-time fan Stephen McDonald along with the assistance of Craig Medaglia made a huge push in social media circles to promote #AlfietotheHall. It obviously aided Alfredsson’s cause.
“I don’t go on every day (social media),” though Alfredsson acknowledged he was certainly aware of the promotion. “They did a fantastic job. I know Corey and Stephen who spearheaded this. I haven’t met them personally. I look forward to doing that actually. They did such a professional job and you can tell how much effort and time they must have put into this. I know Craig was help to able to help them, Cyril Leeder as well. It was really appreciated. They did such a good job. If I didn’t get in, it wouldn’t have killed me. Then I could’ve looked forward to another campaign next year. It was really flattering.”
Not just our captain, but your captain.
— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) June 27, 2022
Senators President of Business Operations Anthony LeBlanc tweeted, “Great day for Alfie. Great day for the @Senators. Great day for Ottawa. Congrats Daniel!!!”
Time will tell if Alfredsson returns to the Senators’ fold. Leaving for Detroit left a sour taste within the organization. He returned in 2015-16, serving as senior advisor for two seasons before leaving for family reasons.
At the recent Senators Alumni Golf Tournament, LeBlanc said he met with Alfredsson to share ideas for the upcoming 30th Anniversary season.
Alfredsson left that door open Tuesday, “Who knows? I’ve said a couple of times that I’m open to talking to the team about if there is a chance to work together again. It hasn’t been on the forefront. With the changes to the organization I think there’s more openings now. When I left to go to Detroit, it wasn’t the best relationship. Bryan Murray really helped make it possible for me to work for the team again and retire an Ottawa Senator. I think healed a couple of wounds – but we’re still weren’t at that stage. It was an open relationship. That’s life sometimes, here we are today. It’s different. I very happy it’s that way.”
It’s not if, but just a matter of time when Daniel Alfredsson returns to the organization that selected him 133rd overall in the 1994 Entry Draft.
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