By Neil Becker
Following a much-anticipated five-year wait, former Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson will take his rightful place in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Alfredsson starred in Ottawa for 17 standout seasons before finishing his Hall of Fame career in 2014 with the Detroit Red Wings. In late June of 2022, he received that life-changing phone call from Hockey Hall of Fame Chairman Lanny McDonald and selection committee chair Mike Gartner.
In picking up the phone, Alfredsson was informed of the thrilling news that after being bypassed since 2017, this Senators fan favourite would indeed be among the 2022 class to be inducted this coming November into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
“Thank you so much guys. I can’t tell you how much this means, not just to me, but to the city of Ottawa as well,” Alfredsson, according to ctvnews.ca replied to the callers.
Drafted 133rd overall by the Senators in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft, Alfredsson opened eyes in his rookie campaign when he came over from Sweden and had a magical 1995/96 season which saw him score 26 goals along with 61 points in winning the Calder Memorial Trophy.
In that inaugural season, Alfredsson, who was immediately becoming popular, even experienced playing in the All-Star Game.
Alfredsson, who had his most productive seasons playing with Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley on the ‘CASH’ line, never won a Stanley Cup. The closest he came was in 2007 when he played a huge role in helping Ottawa get to the Stanley Cup Finals, where they lost in five games to the Anaheim Ducks.
The ever-popular ‘CASH’ line, which later was also called the ‘Pizza Line,’ had that spring a magical playoff run. Alfredsson contributed 14 goals and 22 points, while Heatley and Spezza also produced 22 playoff points.
Upon calling it a career, Alfredsson ended up playing 1,246 career NHL games, where he scored 444 goals along with 1,157 points and 510 penalty minutes.
As mentioned, the majority of Alfredsson’s career was with the Senators, where starting in 1995/96, he began a 17-year run with the team, which saw him play 1,178 games in an Ottawa uniform where he scored 426 goals and had 1,108 points.
Affectionately known as ‘Alfie,’ Alfredsson was named the Senators captain in 1999 and served that role until July 5, 2013, when he agreed to a one-year 5.5-million-dollar contract with the Red Wings.
The love Senators fans had over the years for Alfredsson was evident in quite a few circumstances. One such circumstance occurred at the beginning of Alfredsson’s third year when he missed four games due to a contract squabble. Eventually, on October 12, 1997, the two sides came together on a mutual agreement as Alfredsson signed a lucrative four-year deal worth 14 million. Alfredsson received a prolonged warm ovation from the Ottawa fans during the Senators first home game after the signing.
Arguably the biggest ovation fans gave to Alfredsson occurred on December 1, 2013, when the former captain returned to Ottawa as a Red Wings player. Prior to the game, which saw him score an open net goal in a Wings victory, there was a 67-second video tribute along with many ovations and ‘’Alfie” chants on a special night he will never forget.
“I really appreciate the gesture from the Sens organization and the fans,” Alfredsson said in an interview. “It’s extremely humbling.”
That love could also be seen online, where Senators constructed the #AlfieToTheHall social media campaign to help get him the required 75 percent or more votes from the 18-member HHOF committee to be inducted.
Eventually, two die-hard Senators fans, Corey Meehan and Stephen Macdonald, brought this to the Hockey Hall of Fame’s attention. The online support from Senators fans didn’t go unnoticed by an appreciative Alfredsson.
“It’s really special with the support that I’ve had from Ottawa throughout my career right up to this day,” Alfredsson told the Ottawa Sun. “I know they’ve been really big supporters of mine to help me get into the Hall of Fame. They’re behind me all the way and it goes both ways. It’s a really great honour and special day.”
Overall, his regular season statistics rank him a respectable 55th among all-time NHL scorers. In breaking down his numbers, his 444 career goals rank him 65th in all-time goal scoring but second among Swedish-born players behind his friend and fellow Hockey Hall of Famer Mats Sundin, who scored 564 goals.
“I actually thought I wasn’t going to get the call and it wasn’t going to happen this year,” Alfredsson, who was in Sweden, told the Ottawa Sun. “(Bibi) answered the phone and asked who was calling, it was a very pleasant surprise.”
Another memorable day that Alfredsson, along with the Senators organization and fans, will always remember was on December 4, 2014, when Alfie signed a one-day contract with the purpose of retiring as an Ottawa Senator.
His most productive season came in 2005/06 when Alfredsson played 77 regular season games and scored 43 goals along with 103 points.
The many accomplishments from Alfredsson’s NHL career also include participating in the 1996, 1997, 1998, 2004, 2008 and 2012 All-Star Games.
Other achievements include being on the 1996 All-Rookie Team, winning the Calder Trophy, being selected for the 2006 Second All-Star Team, winning the 2012 King Clancy Memorial Trophy and being selected for the 2013 Mark Messier Leadership Award Trophy.
On the International stage, Alfredsson had some great moments representing Sweden in a grand total of 14 international tournaments. His greatest achievement with Sweden came in 2006. Serving in the winter Olympics as the alternative captain, he helped his country win gold. During that time, Alfredsson, who was playing on a line with Sundin and Henrik Zetterberg, scored five goals and 10 points.
All together, Alfredsson represented Sweden in five Olympics, with the last coming in 2014 when he totalled two goals and four points in helping them win a silver.
He also played for Sweden at the 1995, 1996, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2005 and 2012 World Championships, where he won two bronze medals (1999, 2001) and two silvers (1995, 2004). Always proud to represent his country, Alfredsson also wore Sweden’s colours at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, 1998 Winter Olympics, 2002 Winter Olympics, 2004 World Cup of Hockey, and 2010 Winter Olympics.
Alfredsson, whose jersey number was retired during the Senator’s 25th anniversary season, will be part of the 2022 Hall of Fame induction Class. Inductees include fellow Swedish countrymen Daniel and Henrik Sedin, along with Roberto Luongo, Riikka Sallinen and Herb Carnegie in the Builders category.
You can bet that quite a few Senators fans will either be watching on television or travelling to Toronto to witness, on Monday, November 14, 2022, their favourite son deservedly inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.