Sports

Senators Reconnect With Alexandre Daigle, Former Face of the Franchise

 

If new Ottawa Senators’ owner Michael Andlauer has one mission statement, it’s for his NHL organization to be “best in class.” It’s a motto Andlauer has used often since taking over the franchise last September.

 

The best NHL organizations always have a great connection with their alumni – the players who battled and bled for the team at various points in its history, endearing themselves to the fans. It’s become quite clear that Andlauer wants that connection to be best in class as well.

 

On Thursday night, as the Ottawa Senators hosted the Chicago Blackhawks, they welcomed back former winger Alexandre Daigle and his family, hosting him in one of the suites.

 

It was interesting that Daigle was a guest on the night that Hawks rookie Connor Bedard was playing in Ottawa. Daigle can probably relate to a lot of what Bedard is going through in his first NHL season. Both men were drafted first overall and seen by everyone as can’t-miss future superstars. Even though they were drafted 30 years apart, the pressure on both players was/is immense.

 

Bedard is off to a fine start, but his story has yet to be written. Daigle’s story isn’t a bad one, but it is a tale of unrealized expectations. And it’s currently being featured in a new Amazon Prime documentary called “Chosen One,” billed as the long road from great to grateful.

 

Daigle was not only seen as a generational talent, he was bilingual, handsome and charismatic, a player who, along with Alexei Yashin, would turn the expansion Ottawa Senators around almost overnight. Daigle had every single bit of the same hype that the hockey world later reserved for players like Bedard, Sidney Crosby, or Nathan MacKinnon. 

 

Daigle just never got to that elite level, but he still had a pretty decent NHL career, playing 616 NHL games and scoring 327 points. He would have played more if not for a two-year personal hiatus from the game and two NHL lockouts. 

 

In the big picture, Daigle – who looks like he hasn’t aged a day since he played here – is happy with his hockey career.

 

“Is it the best career that I thought for myself? No. Is it something I’m proud of? Yes,” Daigle said on the Coming in Hot Podcast.

 

“What I did in the last year with the documentary, it brought me a lot of memories. Because you tend to forget, you think forward, you don’t really dwell too much on things. And there were way more fun times and good memories than I thought, actually. Looking at this, I thought everybody was super negative and super harsh (about my career) but in reality that wasn’t the case.”

 

That much was clear at the game on Thursday night as Senator fans put aside any thoughts about old expectations or past disappointments to give Daigle and his family a loud ovation, welcoming him back to Ottawa.

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