The city of Ottawa witnessed something special last Thursday night. Normally, a Thursday night game between the Ottawa Senators and the New York Islanders would be a non-event. However, last Thursday’s game was special as it was Daniel Alfredsson’s retirement party.
A few weeks prior to the game, there were rumours that Alfie would be retiring in Ottawa on December 4, and that the Senators would hold a retirement ceremony for him. Based on these rumours, I went ahead and bought tickets for the game. I ended up in Section 119, Row C on the home side.
On the day of the game, the team held a press conference with owner Eugene Melnyk, GM Bryan Murray and Alfie where they announced that they signed Alfie to a one day contract and that he would participate in the warm-up skate with the team that day.
The ottawasenators.com website posted a special home page on the day of the game:
As news had circulated that Alfie would be participating in the warm-up skate, everyone made sure to get to the game extra early. We got to the arena around 6:15pm, and the place was already full.
We had a great view from our seats:
When it came time for the warm-up, all the players lined up as Alfie walked through the dressing room and onto the ice, with his trademark song U2’s Beautiful Day playing in the arena, and the crowd chanting “Alfie! Alfie! Alfie!”
As our seats were located on the home side near the ice, we had a pretty good view of the players during the warm-up. It felt great to see Alfie back wearing a Sens uniform, and skating with the team. For a moment, it felt like he had never left:
Prior to the start of the game and the singing of the national anthems, the team held a retirement ceremony for Alfie. He initially skated on the ice alone, and was then accompanied by his wife and their 4 sons, each wearing a Karlsson jersey:
He gave a short speech thanking the city and the fans for all the great times and the memories, and the work they did on and off the ice:
In case you missed the retirement ceremony, you can see the ceremony in its entirety here:
Oh right, and there was a game afterwards!
As someone commented prior to the game, “this evening will be so much fun….until the game starts”.
Well, the game sucked, with the Sens just managing 9 shots over 2 periods. The Sens would eventually lose the game 2 – 1 after a goal late in the third period by the Islanders.
In a way, I think the evening would have been much more exciting if the warm-up lasted 3 hours with the crowd cheering on Alfie.
Thanks for reading!