Daniel Alfredsson (Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)
Daniel Alfredsson will become the first player in Senators history to have his jersey retired when Ottawa bestows him with the honor this season. Alfredsson was captain of the franchise for 13 seasons, and is the Senators’ all-time leader in goals, assists and points.
Daniel Alfredsson is the Ottawa Senators’ all-time leader in goals, assists, points and inarguably the most recognizable player to ever suit up for the organization. Now, as the Senators celebrate their 25th anniversary, Ottawa will honor Alfredsson by making him the first Senator to have his number retired by the franchise.
At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, the Senators announced Alfredsson’s No. 11 jersey will be raised to the rafters of the Canadian Tire Centre ahead of Ottawa’s Dec. 29 game against the Detroit Red Wings, the only other franchise Alfredsson suited up for during his 18-year career.
“I’m extremely humbled,” Alfredsson said. “It sounds really good when Mr. Melnyk and Mr. Murray talk so nicely about what I’ve achieved, all the goals and points. I played for a long time — you’ve got to get old to be able to do that — but nothing would have been possible without the teammates, the coaches, the staff, family and parents from an early stage. That’s what comes to mind when I was told I was going to get this honor.”
Alfredsson, who was captain of the Senators for 13 years, added that when he was first told about the intention to retire his jersey, he couldn’t help but think about all the time and effort his parents put into allowing him to play the game and the influence his coaches have had on him since he started playing.
Alfredsson said when he had thought about the possibility of having his jersey retired, he reflected on the players he idolized, looked up to and considered friends, such as Borje Salming, Mats Sundin and Nicklas Lidstrom, all of whom have been honored in the same way. Even still, Alfredsson said, it’s been hard to really wrap his head around the idea of having his jersey retired in Ottawa.
“When you get individual acknowledgements like this, it’s still, ‘Do I deserve this? Is this the right thing for me?’” Alfredsson said. “I know I tried my best and I worked really hard, but there’s so many things that go into it as well. I really want to thank everyone that’s been a big part of it, from staff in the locker room to staff in the offices and everyone else.”
Alfredsson’s jersey retirement comes thanks to the 17-member Ottawa Senators Player Honour Committee, a group which was established to decide how great players from the franchise should be acknowledged by the team. Owner Eugene Melnyk and former GM, coach and current advisor Bryan Murray headline the selection committee.
“We held our first nomination review meeting in May of this year,” Melnyk said. “The outcome of that meeting was an unanimous decision by our committee to select Daniel Alfredsson as the first ever player to be honored under this program.”
Murray said the job of the group was made much easier than Melnyk may have made it sound because of everything Alfredsson had contributed to the organization over the course of his career.
“The honoring committee…I don’t think they had a very hard job in selecting Daniel as the first honoree and nominee for this position,” Murray said. “It’s a great achievement for any player to have their sweater recognized and retired, and I think it’s especially so for Daniel in that he was such a prominent member of the community.”
Now a member of the Senators’ front office, Alfredsson said he and his family have just arrived back in Ottawa from Sweden and are preparing to settle in the city as the season approaches. Being in Ottawa and being a part of the city that he spent nearly his entire NHL career, Alfredsson said, makes the honor that much more special.
“To have this relationship with the Senators and the city of Ottawa for the rest of our lives is a great feeling,” Alfredsson said. “This is kind of the icing on the cake to have this happen in December.”
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