Daniel Alfredsson was a 22-year-old playing for Vastra Frolunda HC in his native Sweden when he got to meet Mark Messier. Little did he know he would win a trophy named for the NHL legend nearly 20 years later.
That day came Friday, when Alfredsson was named the recipient of the 2012-13 Mark Messier Leadership Award presented by Bridgestone, which is given to "the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice during the regular season."
Messier solicits suggestions from club and League personnel and NHL fans to compile a list of potential candidates, but the final selection belongs to him. That's what makes the award so special for Alfredsson.