With the Sens hitting the road for an extended period of time, the top women's national teams in the world will be converging at Scotiabank Place to play for the IIHF Women's World Hockey Championship. The usual suspects will be there as hockey powers all over the world will be sending their best squads to play for gold.
Being one of the world's top hockey nations, Sweden is represented at the tourney and got a special visit yesterday when Sens captain and national legend Daniel Alfredsson popped by the team's hotel to talk to them ahead of their opening game against the Czech Republic on Tuesday.
As it turns out, the Alfredsson has plenty of connections to the squad beyond the shared honour of wearing the Tre Kronor in international play.
"I wished them luck, gave my condolences to their goalie who got injured a couple of days ago, talked to their coaches," said Alfredsson. "I know their coach, I played junior with him, so I chatted with the coaches for an hour or so, I wished them all the best. My brother is also helping out during their stay here as well."
Alfredsson does keep an eye on the hockey scene back home as he follows the Swedish Elite League on top of keeping tabs on the NHL. He is quick to point out, however, that most of the teammates and opponents from his time in the SEL are retired, which, in many respects, is a true testament to the success and longevity Alfredsson has been privy to in Canada.
Last week, Sweden had a bit of a rough welcome to Ottawa as they were defeated by the host Canadians by an 8-0 score, but the captain thinks it'll be a great opportunity for the program which often gets buried in the domestic sports scene.
Like many hockey events, the women's game carries much more publicity it in Canada than elsewhere and Sweden is no exception. Coming over to play in a world championship in Ottawa gives them the opportunity to experience fandom and attention truly unique to Canada.
While the women's worlds are just one of many tournaments Canada hosts on a yearly basis, Alfredsson says that the reaction is always positive when the Swedish guests pack up and head home.
"It's pretty neat. It's a great experience for them to play in a place where hockey means as much as it does. They don't get a ton of attention back home in Sweden and coming here where they play Canada in an exhibition game a couple of days ago, it's a great atmosphere and they can't get that at home so it's a great experience for them," said Alfredsson. "I'm sure they're watching quite a bit of hockey on television too now when they have some off time."
"Any time people from Sweden come to Canada to play in a tournament they leave with a really good impression and understanding of how big hockey is to this culture."
Having a guest speaker who has done alright for himself playing hockey in Ottawa probably doesn't hurt either.
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