Longtime Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson officially announced his retirement from the NHL at a news conference in Ottawa on Thursday.
A free agent who has not played this season, Alfredsson signed a ceremonial one-day contract with the Senators and will skate with the team during warmups before Thursday night's home game against the New York Islanders.
"Being out there with the boys again, it's going to be a special experience," Alfredsson said at the news conference at Ottawa's Canadian Tire Centre. "I'm going to try not to fall down."
Before making his announcement, Alfredsson donned the Senators jersey he wore for his last game with the team, in the spring of 2013.
"I'm very grateful for this opportunity to say thank you and goodbye," he said.
Alfredsson, who turns 42 next week, spent last year with Detroit after playing his first 17 NHL seasons with Ottawa. His free-agent departure amid a contract dispute in the summer of 2013 was a stunning move.
"I just want to say, 'Welcome home, Daniel,"' said Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, who wouldn't say whether Alfredsson would be offered a job with the team, or when his No. 11 jersey might be retired as expected.
Alfredsson had hoped to play this season, and Melnyk said he wanted to bring him back, but Alfredsson said he decided three weeks ago that his body wouldn't allow it. He's been bothered by back problems.
'One of the great players'
The Senators' captain for 13 seasons, Alfredsson is the franchise's all-time leader in games played (1,178), points (1,108), goals (426) and assists (682). A sixth-round draft pick in 1994, he won the Calder Trophy in 1996 as the NHL's top rookie after scoring 26 goals, and went on to make six All-Star teams and crack the 40-goal mark twice.
With Alfredsson, the Senators became a perennial playoff team, and he helped them reach the 2007 Stanley Cup final, where they lost in five games to Anaheim.
He won Olympic gold with his native Sweden in 2006, and added a silver medal this year.
"He's going to be missed. He's certainly one of the great players I've been associated with," said Ottawa GM Bryan Murray.