Alfie's an 'all-time' hero

CHRIS STEVENSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:59 AM ET

GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN -- The Frolunda Indians take the expression "a pillar of the community," pretty literally.

The Swedish club honoured Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson last night during the first intermission of their Elitserien game by dedicating a pillar of the Scandinuvium arena, their home rink, to their native son.

Alfredsson is the first player to be so recognized.

A large crowd stood and clapped as a red covering was pulled down to reveal a couple of photos of Alfredsson in his Indians gear and a list of his career accomplishments. One of his autographed sticks hangs from the ceiling in front of the pillar.

At the top of the pillar is a message recognizing Alfredsson as one of the "all-time loved Frolunda players," as translated by a sheepish Alfredsson.

'PRETTY NEAT'

"It's pretty neat," said Alfredsson as he looked up at the tribute. "It's a great honour. Mine was the first one and they're going to honour some older players who have played here in the past. I didn't know what it was going to be like, but it looks pretty neat."

Alfredsson played three seasons with the Indians from 1992-95 before he was drafted by the Senators in the sixth round, 133rd overall, in the 1995 draft. He won the Calder Trophy as the NHL's rookie of the year the next season.

The picture depicts Alfredsson wearing No. 9 (he wore the 24 in his first go-round with Frolunda) and was taken during the NHL lockout in the 2004-05 when he returned home and helped lead the Indians to the league championship in the club's 60th anniversary season. It was Frolunda's third league championship to go along with titles in 1965 and 2003. Alfredsson had 12 goals and six assists for 18 points in 2005 playoff run.

"He really turned it up for the playoffs," said Fredrik Jonsson, an official with the Indians. "He made Frolunda one of the best club teams in the world.

"That was my first year here and I thought every year was going to be like that."

New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist will be the next former Frolunda Indian to be so honoured at a later date. He also played on that 2005 championship team with Alfredsson.

Unfortunately for the Indians, Alfredsson is playing for the Senators now and Frolunda has been struggling. The club went into last night's game looking for its first regulation win in six games and made Alfredsson a happy man with a 4-1 victory, led by Erik Karlsson, Ottawa's first choice in June, who had a goal and an assist.

It was the end to a whirlwind day for Alfredsson, who hit town with his teammates after flying through the night from Ottawa.

About 100 people turned out at the rink -- mostly family and friends, but some Frolunda players, as well -- to watch the Senators practise at the Scandinavium arena.

Hasse and Margareta, Alfredsson's parents, were beaming as they watched their son work out.

"To see all the guys here on this ice is unbelievable," said Hasse, hobbling on crutches after having hip replacement surgery.

'EXCITING'

"I felt like I was in Ottawa because we never get a chance to see these guys here. It was exciting, especially because we know a lot of the guys."

Margereta, who is battling a neuro-muscular disorder, made her way around in a wheelchair and graciously introduced herself to everyone in the Senators' party.

"It's so great to have you here," she said to one visitor after another.

"He was such a good boy," said Margereta as she watched Alfredsson greet friends after the Senators practice. "He was always training ... football and hockey.

"He had no time for anything else. He used to do his reading (his homework) while he waited for the bus."

Things seemed to have worked out.


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