Ottawa, ON (SportsNetwork.com) - Longtime Senators star Daniel Alfredsson returned to Ottawa on Thursday to officially announce his retirement.
Alfredsson played his first 17 NHL seasons with the Senators before spending the 2013-14 campaign with Detroit. He would likely have played another season with the Red Wings, but back problems forced him to call it a career.
"Last year my body began to complain once more," said Alfredsson at a Thursday news conference. "The old injuries and hard work to recover began again. I worked hard to play another year, (but) three weeks ago I decided to retire."
Alfredsson signed a one-day contract with the Senators and will skate with the team Thursday night in warmups before the scheduled game against the New York Islanders.
"I am very happy to have the opportunity to retire as a Senator," Alfredsson added. "The more I thought about it, the more I thought it was the right thing to do."
The native of Sweden, who will turn 42 years old next week, joined the Senators for the 1995-96 season and became the face of the franchise. He was named the club's captain in October 1999 and served in that role until he departed for Detroit as a free agent in July 2013.
Alfredsson was the Calder Trophy winner as the league's top rookie in 1996 and helped the Senators to 14 playoff appearances during his tenure, including a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in the spring of 2007.
The Eastern Conference championship and the five-game loss to Anaheim in the Cup Finals, Alfredsson said, were among the many highlights in his career.
"When we went to the Finals (was special)," said Alfredsson. "The way the whole city came behind the team."
Alfredsson is the Senators' all-time leader with 1,178 games played, 426 goals, 682 assists and 1,108 points. He added 51 goals and 100 points in 121 playoff games for the franchise.
Senators owner Eugene Melnyk indicated that the club will likely retire Alfredsson's No. 11 jersey.
"Without question, Daniel has been the greatest player that this city has ever seen," Melnyk said.
Last year in Detroit, Alfredsson scored 18 goals and added 31 assists for 49 points in 68 games. He will finish his career ranked 60th in NHL history with 444 goals and 51st all-time with 1,157 points.
"It's going to be tough to find another job that is as rewarding and fun as it is to play in the NHL," Alfredsson said Thursday.
Alfredsson was a six-time participant in the NHL All-Star Game and was a Second-Team NHL All-Star in 2006. He represented Sweden in the Olympics five times, winning gold in 2006 and silver in 2014.