Musthafa Ebadi
Captain Oh My Captain!
by Musthafa Ebadi on December 4th, 2014

​Whenever someone mentioned my beloved Ottawa Senators, to me it was synonym with, the greatest captain in our history - Daniel Alfredsson or Alfie as his friends, teammates, and fans call him.

I am very passionate about my hockey and often times people are surprised how a person who doesnt look like a typical hockey fan is passionate about the game and the Ottawa Senators.

Part of the reason why I am so passionate has been Alfie. As our captain he was the best player on ice for me, he was a classy individual, well spoken, and when the game was on the line or we needed a leader to step up it was often our Alfie!

I have read multiple stories from people on his sense of compassion and how thoughtful he was. To me Alfie was the best hockey player and my favorite hockey player! 

​​The first hockey jersey I could afford to buy was an Alfie jersey. I was so proud of it and every time I looked at it it brought a wide grin on my face because it brought memories - memories that I cherished and absolutely loved!
 
When I moved to Toronto I would wear it often - and take alot of flack for it - but wore it with pride. I loved listening to TSN 1200's Steve every morning because I knew we atleast had one thing in common - unconditional love of Alfie.

I badly want my Senators to win a Stanley Cup and I know it looks like a long shot now but it was very realistic few years ago. The chills I would get by imagining Alfie hoisting the cup often moistened my eyes. To me my beloved Ottawa Senators was Alfie and Alfie was my beloved Ottawa Senators.  

On 28 June 2013, when Bryan Murray confirmed that he had been informed by agent J. P. Barry that Alfie "is committed to play next year for the Senators" I was ecstatic. The previous season we had surprised the hockey world by eliminating Montreal Canadiens in 1st round and giving the powerhouse Pittsburgh Penguins run for their money in the 2nd round.

There were alot rumors that Ottawa was in talk to land a star top 6 forward(later turned out to be Bobby Ryan) and another top 6 forward (Clarke McArthur) to build on that success and turn Ottawa into an elite team - once again. I thought if Alfie could to play one more year after this he could hoist that Stanley Cup as our captain that I dreamed about. 

Then on the night of July 4th I was getting ready for a business trip to Montreal with my Dad  when I heard the rumblings that Alfie might sign with another team. I did not put any stock into it because I thought he had deep roots in Ottawa, had accomplished so much here, is so well-loved by people in Ottawa, and more over just couple of months ago he announced on national US radio show that if he will play again it will be with Ottawa.

The next day I and Dad were on our way to Montreal and I was pumping gas on Donlad and St. Laurent Sunoco Gas station in Ottawa when I received a tweet from Darren Dreger of TSN just before 10:00AM confirming that Alfredsson had agreed to play with Detroit Red Wings.

My heart sunk. The reason I remember it so vividly is because I felt part of me had been ripped. 

July 5th 2013 is the day that I went through all 5 stages of grief during our 6 hour trip. At first I kept denying it to myself that it was not possible. My Alfie - Our Alfie - couldnt do it. Then I was angry. How could he do it, after what the city and the organization did to him, how could he leave like that etc etc.

Then I started to reason trying to come up with a silver lining in all this, looking at positive side, convincing myself that everything happens for a good reason but I could still not bring myself to terms with it. I was then depressed. Not knowing what to do, feeling sorry, sad. And finally I accepted and on our way back I had to remind myself that I had to move on.

Some people made fun of me how I reacted that day, some still do, and some of you might start after reading this but I am ok with it.

I am a passionate guy, a loyal guy,  and when I get passionate and loyal about something (which doesnt happen very often) I form a deadly combination passionate loyalty. 

As days past I felt cheated, I felt wounded, and I felt betrayed. I was sour and I was angry. And while I can honestly say I never hated Alfredssson and still had respect for him as player my love for him started to erode and confidence in his leadership crode. I started to dislike Detroit Red Wings and after Stinking Toronto Maple Leafs the Wings were the team that I wanted SENS to defeat the most - although after SENS missed the playoffs I cheered for them to win a cup not because I loved Alfredsson like I did but because I wanted to great soldier of the game to realize his dream.   

I never called him by his nick name again, the jersey that I was so proud of hung in the closet in our Ottawa home and I never put it on once after - I briefly thought of "getting rid" of it but my younger brother who is another passionate SENS and Alfredsson fan objected. 
​They say time is the best healer for any wound. As time passed the "wound" started to heal.

The other best healer is to right the wrong. And earlier last week it was announced that Alfredsson would retire because of a bad back.

As the details of retirements were made public my love and passion for him started to rekindle.

I was delighted to hear that he chose to retire in Ottawa, was very happy to hear that he would sign a contract for one day with Senators so he could retire as an Ottawa Senator. When I learnt that he would take the warm up tonight before the game and would take part in ceremonial faceoff it became obvious to me to that he wants to right the wrong*

And for that Alfie, I love you again!  You are Alfie to me again and I have asked my family to bring my jersey with them today which I will proudly sport (once again) the entire weekend!

Thank you for coming back and welcome home - where you always belonged! 

To captain oh my captain

- With Love! 


 *Alfie has never admitted that leaving for Detriot was wrong - not yet.
 


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