|Daniel Alfredsson has been a tireless spokesman for the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health, which led United Way Ottawa to honour him as a Community Builder (Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images).
The letter on his jersey symbolizes the daily leadership Daniel Alfredsson
provides for his teammates.
Now the Senators captain has been recognized for his efforts off the ice.
Alfredsson received a surprise visit earlier today from United Way Ottawa, which presented him with its Community Builder Award for 2010. On hand for the presentation of a special plaque were United Way Ottawa president/CEO Michael Allen and CTV Ottawa's Karen Soloman, also co-chair of volunteer recognition for the local United Way.
"You have demonstrated the ability to give, to speak up and take action on things that matter most to you," Soloman said in recognizing Alfredsson's "outstanding contributions" to the nation's capital. "Thank you for helping to build a stronger, healthier and safer community for all of us."
The award specifically recognizes Alfredsson's work with the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health. He is the primary spokesman for the group's "You Know Who I Am" campaign, which aims to raise awareness of mental health issues and break down the stigmas that surround it. Alfredsson became involved to show his support for his younger sister, Cecilia, who suffers from general anxiety disorder.
"With Daniel's assistance, the campaign has raised more than $10.1 million to date for mental health research," said Soloman. "Daniel's involvement has allowed people within the community who are struggling with various forms of mental illness to speak up and make public their own daily hardships and difficulties."
Alfredsson was humbled by the Community Builder Award, calling it "a very nice surprise."
"That's not what you're looking for when you get involved in a charity," he said. "It has been very rewarding for me, with the response I get from people I meet in the city. At the same time, the people at the Royal have done a great job getting out and being seen and promoting the campaign. They made me look good.
"It is, to me, an important cause and it’s among a lot of other ones in this community. I find, being here for a long time now, that this is a community that definitely supports each other. I’m very honoured to get this award today."