OAKVILLE, Ont. - Daniel Alfredsson's decision to sign with the Detroit Red Wings shocked the hockey world—and at least one golfer.
The 40-year-old Alfredsson had spent his entire career with the Ottawa Senators before abruptly cutting ties with the team to sign in the Motor City when free agency opened July 5.
Canadian golfer Brad Fritsch, who is from Ottawa and is sponsored by the Senators on the PGA Tour, knows Alfredsson personally and wasn't expecting the former captain to leave.
"It was very surprising, based on the conversations that we had," Fritsch said Friday at the RBC Canadian Open. "I don't think anything happened that hasn't been reported. I think he just had a change of heart."
Fritsch likened Alfredsson's decision to leave Ottawa to the pressures of the spotlight that high-profile golfers sometime face.
"He probably feels the way Mike Weir has felt for a long time—being 'the guy' for so long. Obviously Alfie for the Senators and Mike for Canadian golf," said the 35-year-old Fritsch. "I think maybe it wore on him a little bit. Now he's got two or three or four players in Detroit where he can feed off them rather than the entire team having to feed off Alfie."
Like many Senators fans, Fritsch believes the loss of Alfredsson will be offset by a number of other moves made by general manager Bryan Murray, including the acquisitions of forwards Bobby Ryan and Clarke MacArthur.
"With MacArthur and Ryan, I think we became a better team, especially in the goal-scoring department," said Fritsch. "We added more goals than we lost."
Fritsch, who is in his first season on the PGA Tour, shot a second-round 73 Friday and sits 2-under heading into the weekend.