It’s that time of year again. The Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee is about to get together (June 27th) and decide on the class of 2022. For most Ottawa Senators fans, Daniel Alfredsson’s inclusion in the Hall has always seemed like an easy decision – a no-brainer, really. But even if you remove hometown bias, Alfredsson’s resume still holds up extremely well against his peers:
- The face of the franchise: best player in Ottawa Senators’ history
- Holds franchise records for career goals, assists and points
- NHL career stats: 1246 games played, 444 goals, 1157 points (54th all-time)
- Senators’ captain from 1999-2013
- 14 international tournament appearances for Team Sweden
- 5 Olympic appearances: gold and silver medalist
- From 2000-2009, 3rd highest NHL scorer
- Co-leader in scoring in 2007 Stanley Cup playoffs
- Already in the International Hockey Hall of Fame (inducted in 2018)
- Elite defensive forward
- Calder Trophy winner (NHL rookie of the year)
- Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award winner
- King Clancy Memorial Trophy Winner
- mental health champion
That hasn’t been enough for the Selection Committee, which has passed him by every year since 2017.
This year, the Sedin twins (who do everything together) are eligible for the first time and there continues to be some big names waiting alongside Alfie – players like Alex Mogilny, Jeremy Roenick, Rod Brind’Amour, Pierre Turgeon, Keith Tkachuk, Theo Fleury, Vince Damphouse, Curtis Joseph, Tom Barrasso and others. Some are definitely good choices, but not one is an obviously superior choice to Alfie.
Will this finally be Alfie’s year? Who knows? But this year, he’s finally getting a push. Ottawa is banging the drum, trying to the get the Committee’s attention, lobbying for Alfie’s admission.
@AlfieToTheHall is a new social media campaign launched on Twitter this week, complete with a splashy highlight reel of number 11’s finest moments. Wally and Methot producer Craig Medaglia, a long time content producer with the Senators, was part of this new fan push.
“I was actually approached by (former Sens President) Cyril Leeder in the fall of 2020 and he asked if I would be interested in lending some of my talents to the project, which was actually spearheaded by a pair of fans – Stephen MacDonald and Corey Meehan.” said Medaglia. “I was obviously more than happy to help, so my role has been more on the social media and content side to support the submission they created.”
MacDonald and Meehan discovered in the Hall of Fame bylaws there was actually a public submission process. So they went through the formal process, trying to encourage Alfredsson’s admission. It’s hoped this will grab some attention from the selection committee, but the bigger push is likely to come from Sens fans sharing the video along with the hashtag #AlfieToTheHall. In just the first day, the video was viewed almost 150,000 times and retweeted over 3,000 times.
“The feedback has been unbelievable,” said Medaglia. “I knew the support would be there from the fan base. They’re incredibly passionate about their team and that definitely includes Alfie. But the level of engagement has blown us away. The team’s participation in the campaign was also a nice surprise and hopefully this can be the start of repairing an incredibly important relationship for our city.”
For six years, Medaglia was a popular content creator for the Senators. So his assessment of the team’s participation in this campaign and the current state of its relationship with the city is meaninfgul. The retweet and support from the Senators’ official account truly marked a sea change for the organization.
It’s believed to be the first time Alfredsson has received any kind of public, Hall of Fame support from the team he captained for 13 years. While it may be one simple tweet, it loudly trumpeted a desire to mend fences.
It’s no secret Alfredsson and former owner Eugene Melnyk had a strained relationship. It’s probably the biggest reason why Alfredsson left to play his final NHL season in Detroit. It’s probably the biggest reason why he left his job as Senators Senior Advisor of Hockey Operations.
But things are looking up. Alfie has recently indicated an interest in reconnecting with the team and the team is currently supporting his Hall of Fame campaign. There have also been numerous reports the Sens hockey operations department is in hiring mode. And that was badly needed, even before the off-season firing of senior vice-president of player development Pierre McGuire and the resignation this week of assistant GM Peter MacTavish. Unless there’s lingering friction with GM Pierre Dorion for some reason, Alfie’s return to the organization feels as automatic to Sens fans as his Hall of Fame bid.
In the meantime, will all this extra push and attention be enough get Alfie into the Hall of Fame?
I really hope this is the year,” said Medaglia. “But even if it isn’t, I’d still be pretty happy with the headway we’ve made as a group. Having seen the submission myself and now accompanied with a groundswell of support on social media, I’m pretty hopeful the time is right and we can send the greatest Ottawa Senator of all-time to the Hall of Fame.”
By Steve Warne | Faces Magazine