During the last few days, the world of hockey has mourned the loss of Börje Salming. The Swedish icon died on Thursday after a tough battle with ALS.
People worldwide have sent their support and love to the Salming family. Salming played 17 seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 70s and 80s and was known as a trailblazer for European hockey players.
Salming was the first Swede to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996, and his Nr. 21 is retired by the Maple Leafs.
Börje Salming’s last weeks in life were emotional. He was in Toronto during the Hall of Fame weekend and was honored by the Maple Leafs fans. The standing ovation went on for minutes. Salming couldn’t stop his tears, and neither could former Maple Leafs captain Darryl Sittler, who was with Salming on the ice.
Salming was also presented with the NHL’s Honorary Award during a Swedish gala celebrating 100 years of Swedish hockey. As he made a huge effort to get on the stage, the standing ovation never stopped.
Now, Börje Salming’s brother Stig reveals just how important it was for Börje to get a final goodbye to his fans in Toronto and Sweden. As it turns out, it was Börje’s absolute wish to make the trip to Canada, despite him being weak from the diseas
”He presented it as a demand that he wanted to go. Everyone around him checked with his doctors to make sure it was okay. We got help to solve everything, for Börje’s sake,” Stig told a Swedish radio station.
”Börje wanted to participate in the honoring just as it happened. And I don’t think Börje could receive a better honoring than how it turned out. It was a fantastic ending for him, but it’s tragic that it happened so fast.”
Stig was with Börje Salming when he passed. He took his last breath, surrounded by his closest family.
”I was with him during his last 45 minutes. It all happened so fast. I was with him when he passed, and that was nice, in one way.”