Börje Salming Dies at Age 71; NHL Legend Inducted into Hall of Fame in 1996

Adam WellsNovember 24, 2022

TORONTO, CANADA - NOVEMBER 12: Former Toronto Maple Leaf Borje Salming is honored during a pregame ceremony prior to the game between the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Scotiabank Arena on November 11, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Salming, joined with his wife Pia (L) and daughter Bianca (R),  was diagnosed with ALS earlier this year. at the Scotiabank Arena on November 12, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Hockey Hall of Famer and Toronto Maple Leafs legend Börje Salming has died at the age of 71.

Maple Leafs president and alternate governor Brendan Shanahan issued a statement about Salming:

Toronto Maple Leafs @MapleLeafs

Statement from Maple Leafs President and Alternate Governor Brendan Shanahan on the passing of Börje Salming: <a href="https://t.co/zguKOyVLmM">pic.twitter.com/zguKOyVLmM</a>

"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."

Salming announced in August he had been diagnosed with ALS. He didn't specify when the diagnosis was made.

A 17-year NHL veteran, Salming spent the first 16 years of his career in Toronto. He went undrafted before signing with the Maple Leafs as a free agent in May 1973 and made his debut during the 1973-74 season.

Salming was named to All-Star squads in six consecutive seasons from 1974 to 1980. He finished in the top five of Norris Trophy voting in each of his first seven seasons, including two top-two finishes in 1976-77 and 1979-80.

The Detroit Red Wings signed Salming as a free agent after the 1988-89 season. He spent one season with them before retiring at the age of 39.

Salming is Toronto's all-time leader among defensemen in points (768), goals (148), assists (620) and ranks second in games played (1,099). He was the first Swedish player to be enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame when he was inducted in 1996.