A heartbreaking loss felt across the hockey world.
On Thursday, the Toronto Maple Leafs shared the news that all hockey fans had been dreading for quite some time, announcing that Hall of Fame defenseman Borje Salming has passed away at the age of 71.
Salming had been fighting the degenerative muscular disease ALS, announcing his diagnosis in August 2022.
The native of Salmi, Kiruna, Sweden was a trailblazer in hockey throughout his incredible career, paving the way for Europeans to make their way to the NHL when he joined the Maple Leafs in 1973.
Salming will forever be considered not just one of the best defensemen of his era, but of all time. Going against the stigma around European players in hockey, Salming was a fierce warrior on the ice, demonstrating a physicality and fearlessness that blew people away. Salming was a two-time runner-up for the Norris Trophy for the league’s best defenseman, finishing his NHL career with 150 goals and 637 assists for 787 points in 1,148 career games. He was named to the NHL’s first all-star team in 1977 and was a second-team all-star in 1975, 1976, 1978, 1979, and 1980.
As a Maple Leaf, Salming set the standard for what a player should strive to be as a member of the organization. Over his 16-year tenure with the club, Salming set a whopping six franchise records that he still holds to this day, including most career points by a defenceman, most career goals by a defenceman, most career assists by a player at any position, most assists in a season by a defenceman, and second-best career plus-minus rating.
At the end of his spectacular career, Salming became the first Swedish-born and European-trained NHL player to ever be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
The world has lost one of its most impressive people. Our thoughts and sympathies are with the Salming family and his friends.
- Borje Salming Passes Away at Age 71
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