Börje Salming, Hall of Famer who starred for Maple Leafs, dead at 71


Börje Salming, the Hall of Fame Swedish defenseman who starred for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1970s and ’80s and paved the way for many Europeans to join the NHL, has died, the team announced Thursday. He was 71.

The news comes just a few months after Salming publicly revealed he had been diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, earlier this year.

“The Toronto Maple Leafs mourn the loss of Börje Salming,” team president Brendan Shanahan said Thursday in a statement. “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 through his contributions to the community.”


A six-time All-Star, Salming spent most of his career in Toronto before playing his final season in Detroit. He recorded 150 goals and 637 assists over 1,148 career games and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996.

Toronto added a statue of Salming to Legend’s Row outside Scotiabank Arena in 2015 and officially retired his No. 21 in 2016. His 1,099 career games played are the third-most in franchise history.



Hall of Famer Börje Salming diagnosed with ALS

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

(Photo: Dave Sandford / NHLI via Getty Images)


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