Maple Leafs legend Borje Salming dies after bout with ALS



Borje Salming, legendary NHL defenseman and trailblazer of European-born gamers in North America, has died amid an almost two-year lengthy battle with ALS. He was 71 years outdated.

The Toronto Maple Leafs, for whom Salming performed the majority of his profession, released a statement on Thursday to announce Salming’s passing.

“The Toronto Maple Leafs mourn the lack of Börje Salming,” stated Leafs’ President and Alternate Governor Brendan Shanahan. “Börje was a pioneer of the sport and an icon with an unbreakable spirit and unquestioned toughness. He helped open the door for Europeans within the NHL and outlined himself by means of his play on the ice and thru his contributions to the group.

Börje joined the Maple Leafs 50 years in the past and can ceaselessly be part of our hockey household. We prolong our deepest condolences to his spouse, Pia, his youngsters Theresa, Anders, Rasmus, Bianca, Lisa and Sara and brother Stieg.”

Salming’s embellished NHL profession spanned 17 seasons from 1973-90 between Toronto and Detroit, with a resume boasting 1,148 video games and 787 factors. A two-time runner-up for the Norris Trophy, Salming grew to become the primary Swedish-born participant to be inducted to the Hockey Corridor of Fame in 1996 and two years later he entered the IIHF Corridor of Fame. The blueliner was an NHL first group All Star in 1977 and a five-time NHL second-team All-Star between 1975-80.

For 16 of his 17 NHL campaigns, Salming was ‘The King’ of Toronto, patrolling the Maple Leafs’ blueline with a physicality and grit that flew within the face of frequent stereotypes that Swedish-bred skaters like himself have been too mushy to make it within the bruising NHL. Salming had made a direct impression although when Leafs’ scout Gerry McNamara noticed him enjoying abroad in 1973. McNamara was in Sweden to scout Inge Hammarstrom; he wound up signing Salming to a free agent deal as a substitute.

The defender rapidly grew to become a fan favourite in Toronto and embraced his reputation there. In January 1998, Salming grew to become the primary European-born participant to succeed in the 1,000-game mark. The next 12 months, Salming inked a one-year free agent cope with the Pink Wings to complete out his profession. Salming’s legacy in Toronto because the franchise’s defensive chief in assists (620) and factors (760) remained although, and his No. 21 has since been retired by the group.

After retiring Salming remained an lively a part of the hockey group, which was devasted to study of his ALS analysis in August. A progressive illness of the nervous system, ALS impacts cells within the mind and spinal wire that results in muscle management loss. Salming initially started experiencing signs in February and his well being quickly declined from there. Final month, Salming revealed he had misplaced the flexibility to talk.

Whereas the sickness attacked his physique, Salming’s resolve remained intact. He was decided to attend Corridor of Fame weekend in Toronto earlier this month when three extra Swedish gamers can be inducted. Salming made it, and the Maple Leafs honored him with a pre-game tribute forward of their recreation in opposition to Vancouver. An overcome Salming got here to the ice surrounded by household to absorb the standing ovation. The ceremonial puck drop was finished by Swedish-born Oliver Ekman-Larsson and William Nylander, and Leafs’ coach Sheldon Keefe iced a beginning lineup that featured all six of Toronto’s Swedish-born gamers.

That was the second occasion in as many nights the place Salming was acknowledged. The night time earlier than, on the annual Corridor of Fame recreation between Toronto and Pittsburgh, Salming was helped to the ice by good buddy and former teammate Darryl Sittler, who broke down in tears watching Salming cheered on by the world. Salming met with Sittler in September and stated he needed to be in Toronto for this weekend that will characteristic three Swedish-born inductees in Vancouver’s Henrik and Daniel Sedin and Ottawa’s Daniel Alfredsson.

Salming was a pioneer in each sense, making it doable for European-bred gamers of in the present day to thrive within the North American realm.

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