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Maple Leafs legend Borje Salming dies after bout with ALS

Borje Salming, legendary NHL defenseman and trailblazer of European-born players in North America, has died amid a nearly two-year long battle with ALS. He was 71 years old.

The Toronto Maple Leafs, for whom Salming played the bulk of his career, released a statement on Thursday to announce Salming’s passing.

“The Toronto Maple Leafs mourn the loss of Börje Salming,” said Leafs’ President and Alternate Governor Brendan Shanahan. “Börje was a pioneer of the game and an icon with an unbreakable spirit and unquestioned toughness. He helped open the door for Europeans in the NHL and defined himself through his play on the ice and through his contributions to the community.

Börje joined the Maple Leafs 50 years ago and will forever be a part of our hockey family. We extend our deepest condolences to his wife, Pia, his children Theresa, Anders, Rasmus, Bianca, Lisa and Sara and brother Stieg.”

Salming’s decorated NHL career spanned 17 seasons from 1973-90 between Toronto and Detroit, with a resume boasting 1,148 games and 787 points. A two-time runner-up for the Norris Trophy, Salming became the first Swedish-born player to be inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996 and two years later he entered the IIHF Hall of Fame. The blueliner was an NHL first team 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 in the face of common stereotypes that Swedish-bred skaters like himself were too soft to make it in the bruising NHL. Salming had made an immediate impression though when Leafs’ scout Gerry McNamara spotted him playing overseas in 1973. McNamara was in Sweden to scout Inge Hammarstrom; he wound up signing Salming to a free agent deal instead.

Borje Salming, center, took part in a ceremonial puck drop on Nov. 12 in Toronto with Oliver Ekman-Larsson of the Canucks and William Nylander of the Maple Leafs,…


Source link : https://www.espn.com/nhl/story/_/id/35099354/maple-leafs-legend-borje-salming-dies-bout-als

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Publish date : 2022-11-24 19:00:20

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