COPENHAGEN — Hours before his Swedish countrymen were set to play for their second straight world championship, Daniel Alfredsson reflected on how his life has changed now that he has become a hockey dad. Alfredsson headlined the group of eight 2018 inductees to the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame on the final day of competition in Copenhagen, Denmark.
"You’re never going to get the highs of playing in a world championship or especially the world championship final again," he said. "But I’m happy where I’m at."
For the last year, Alfredsson been away from the NHL, but not far from the rink.
"Three of my sons play for the same organization," he said. "I coached two of the teams.
"I had a really enjoyable time. Learned a lot as well: where to set the bar for the kids at different ages and maturity levels. It was a great experience."
Originally drafted in the sixth round by the Ottawa Senators in 1994, Alfredsson won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year in 1995-96 and went on to become the franchise leader in goals (426) and points (1,108) in an NHL career that spanned 18 seasons, 17 of them in Ottawa. He served as captain from 1999 to 2013 and helped the Senators reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2007.
Internationally, Alfredsson won Olympic gold with Sweden in 2006 and silver in 2014, along with four world championship medals — silver in 1995 and 2004 and bronze in 1999 and 2001.
After finishing his playing career with the Detroit Red Wings, Alfredsson signed a one-day contract to officially retire as a member of the Senators in 2014 and had his jersey number retired by Ottawa in 2016. He served two seasons as a senior advisor of hockey operations with the Senators before stepping away from the team in July.
"As long as my kids are involved, I’ll be involved in youth hockey one way or another, as a coach or volunteer or anything," he said about his plans for the future. "Professionally, I don’t know. I’ve taken a year off. It’s been nice, but part of me missed the competitiveness. We’ll see what happens."
Asked if he’d heard anything about the future of his fellow Erik Karlsson, a fellow Swede and current captain of the Senators who’s scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2019, Alfredsson said: "To me, he says that he wants to stay. But it’s not all in his hands."
Canadian defenceman and current Los Angeles Kings general manager Rob Blake was also inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday.
One of just 28 members of the hockey’s Triple Gold Club, Blake won a gold medal at the world championship in 1994, a Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in 2001 and was part of the team that snapped Canada’s 50-year Olympic gold drought in Salt Lake City in 2002. All told, he skated for Canada in three Olympics, four world championships and at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey as well as playing a management role in two world championships and at the 2016 World Cup.
Blake named mentors like Bob Nicholson and the late Pat Quinn as members of the Team Canada braintrust that supported him during his playing days. He supports the return of NHL players to the Olympic stage.
"Yes. To me, it was a tremendous experience to be involved in the Village, just like any other athlete," said Blake. "That’s probably what I still get asked most about — the Olympics."
Six others were also inducted on Sunday, including former NHL stars Chris Chelios and Jere Lehtinen in the player category, plus longtime Canadian referee Bob Nadin and France’s second-generation hockey hero Philippe Lacarriere as builders.
Denmark’s Jesper Damgaard, who played in 17 consecutive world championships, received the Richard "Bibi" Torriani award for his outstanding career as a player from a smaller hockey nation and Latvia’s Kirovs Lipmans was named the winner of the Paul Loicq Award for his contributions to international ice hockey.