Hall of Fame defenceman Borje Salming dead at 71 after battle with ALS

Hall of Fame defenceman Borje Salming dead at 71 after battle with ALS

A pioneer for Europeans who later made their mark in the top professional hockey league, Hall of Fame defenseman Borje Salming, who played for the Toronto Maple Leafs over 16 NHL seasons, passed away at the age of 71 following a battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Salming’s passing was announced by the Maple Leafs in a statement on Thursday.

Borje Salming
 

Salming, according to team president Brendan Shanahan, “opened the door” for Europeans to play in the NHL.

Shanahan referred to Borje as a “pioneer of the game and an icon with an unbreakable spirit and unquestionable toughness.” Through his performance on the ice and his contributions to the community, (Salming) defined himself.

Salming was signed by Toronto as a free agent prior to the 1973–74 campaign.

The Kiruna, Sweden-born player went on to play 1,099 regular-season games for the Leafs, setting records for points (768), assists (620), goals (148), and goals by a defenseman in the playoffs (49).

Salming finished second for the Norris Trophy twice, falling to legendary Montreal Canadiens player Larry Robinson both times. He was selected to the NHL’s first all-star team in 1976–77 and the second all-star team five times in subsequent seasons.

His plus-minus rating at the end of his stint with the Leafs was plus-155, which is an impressive statistic given how poorly the Maple Leafs performed for the majority of the 1980s.

Before retiring following the 1989–1990 season, Salming played with the Detroit Red Wings for his 17th NHL season.

The NHL’s Gary Bettman stated in a statement that Borje Salming was “a terrific all-around defenseman and the first Swedish star to ever play in the league. He was as physically and intellectually strong as he was skillfully talented.” He paved the way for many of the greatest NHL players while dispelling the myths about European players that were pervasive in a League that was predominately made up of North Americans until his entry in 1973.

He was honored as one of the “100 Greatest NHL Players” in 2017 and was the first player from Sweden to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996.

A pioneer for Europeans who later made their mark in the top professional hockey league, Hall of Fame defenseman Borje Salming, who played for the Toronto Maple Leafs over 16 NHL seasons, passed away at the age of 71 following a battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Salming’s passing was announced by the Maple Leafs in a statement on Thursday.

 

Salming, according to team president Brendan Shanahan, “opened the door” for Europeans to play in the NHL.

Shanahan spoke to Borje as a “pioneer of the game and a legend with an indomitable spirit and unquestionable tenacity.” Through his performance on the ice and his commitment to the community, (Salming) defined himself.

Salming was signed by Toronto as a free agent prior to the 1973–74 campaign.

The Kiruna, Sweden, native continued to perform.

source:nsemwokrom.com