Mark annnounces Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson as winner of the Mark Messier Leadership Award presented by Bridgestone on the the NHL Network.
Ottawa Senators forward Daniel Alfredsson, the longest serving captain in the NHL, is the 2013 winner of the Mark Messier Leadership Award presented by Bridgestone.
Alfredssson, 40, has played his entire 17-year NHL career with the Senators since joining them in 1995-96 and winning the Calder Trophy as the league’s rookie of the year. Ottawa’s leading career point producer by far, Alfredsson has 426 goals and 682 assists in 1,108 regular-season games.
But more than numbers stood out for Mark, who personally choses the award winner. Alfredsson edged out two other finalists and NHL captains — Chicago’s Jonathan Toews and Los Angeles’ Dustin Brown.
“It’s always a tough choice, three worthy recipients,” Mark said. “But if you look at the body of work of Daniel Alfredsson over a long career since becoming captain, what the (Senators) organization has been through, going to the Stanley Cup finals, retooling — almost rebuilding — and not missing a beat and almost coming out of it stronger than they were going into the rebuild…
“I don't think that happens without great leadership. And that doesn’t happen without a great rapport between the players, the captain, the coaching staff and management.”
The Senators were rocked by injuries to key players this season, but Alfredsson helped keep his team on track for a seventh-place finish and playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. The Sens then upset Montréal in the opening postseason round before falling to Pittsburgh.
Alfredsson also has led the Senators’ community outreach to make a difference in the Ottawa region.
The native of Gothenberg, Sweden has supported the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa for the past 10 seasons, purchasing tickets and suites for club members to attend Senators games. He has been the title sponsor of Ringside for Youth, the team’s primary fundraising event during the season.
Since 2008, Alfredsson also has been the spokesperson and champion for the Royal Ottawa Foundation’s “You Know Who I Am” campaign, leading the way to help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues. In addition, Alfredsson has supported the Royal’s “Do It for Daron” campaign to assist in raising the profile of youth mental health issues.
“What he’s done in the community off the ice is beyond expectations or anyone really,” Mark said. “He’s a good representative not only for the Ottawa Senators, but he’s a great representative for the entire National Hockey League for what a player really should be on and off the ice.”
The 2013 Mark Messier Leadership Award was announced in a broadcast on the NHL Network from the United Center in Chicago before Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals. Mark was there in person and chatted with Alfredsson via a phone link.
“It means a lot getting an award like this that recognizes all the work you put in on and off the ice,” Alfredsson said. “And especially coming from a guy like Mark Messier as well — he kind of epitomizes the leadership role in our game — it's a huge honor.”
Alfredsson is the most celebrated player in Sens history and the longest-serving captain in the NHL.