TORONTO, Nov. 24, 2022 – The Toronto Maple Leafs have just announced some very sad news. Legendary Maple Leafs defenceman and NHL Hall of Famer, Börje Salming has died at 71.
The statement from the Maple Leafs reads: “On behalf of the Salming family, it’s with great sadness that the Toronto Maple Leafs announce the passing of franchise icon Börje Salming. He was 71.”
Statement from Maple Leafs President and Alternate Governor Brendan Shanahan:
“The Toronto Maple Leafs mourn the loss of Börje Salming. 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.”
in July 2022, Salming was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The Hall of Fame defenseman officially announced his diagnosis in August. “I have received news that has shaken my family and me,” Salming wrote. “In an instant, everything changed.”
ALS is a progressive disease that causes the motor neurons to gradually deteriorate, and then die. Motor neurons extend from the brain to the spinal cord to muscles throughout the body. According to the Mayo clinic, “when motor neurons are damaged, they stop sending messages to the muscles, so the muscles can’t function. ALS is inherited in 5% to 10% of people.”
Salming’s Maple Leafs career began when he signed as a free agent prior to the 1973-74 season. Over the course of 16 seasons and 1,099 regular season games in blue and white, he would go on to establish a team record for most assists (620) while registering the most goals (148), points (768) and playoff points (49) by a defenceman in franchise history. His #21 hangs in the rafters at Scotiabank Arena as one of 19 players to have their number retired by the Maple Leafs.
A two-time runner-up for the Norris Trophy, Salming was named to the NHL’s First All-Star team in 1976-77 and the Second All-Star team on five occasions. In 1996, he became the first Swedish player inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and was honoured as one of the ‘100 Greatest NHL Players’ in 2017.
On the international stage, Salming represented Sweden at four IIHF World Championships, three Canada Cups and the 1992 Winter Olympics. He was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame in 1998 and, in 2008, was recognized as part of the IIHF’s Centennial All-Star Team, featuring the six most successful players in the history of international ice hockey as voted by an expert panel.
Maple Leafs legend revealed earlier this year he had been diagnosed with ALS and was in Toronto on Remembrance Day for a very emotional ceremonial puck drop at Scotiabank Arena.
Börje Salming is survived by his wife, Pia, his children Theresa, Anders, Rasmus, Bianca, Lisa and Sara and brother Stieg.
SOURCE Toronto Maple Leafs