Börje Salming has died, and the world of hockey is mourning the loss of a true legend. Börje Salming joined the Toronto Maple Leafs in the early 70s, and as a non-American player in the NHL, it wasn’t easy. Börje Salming was threatened, beaten, and a constant target for his opponents. But he never backed down, always gave his all for the team, and earned the love and respect of all hockey fans.
Börje Salming is a trailblazer for European-born players in the NHL and made it easier for all Swedes coming over to play in the NHL.
Börje Salming played 17 seasons with the Maple Leafs and was a two-time runner-up for the Norris Trophy. In 1996, Salming became the first Swedish-born player to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, and his No.21 has been retired by the Maple Leafs.
In August, he was diagnosed with ALS. Earlier this November, Salming was honored in front of the home crowd in Toronto. He also got the NHL’s Honorary Award on the Swedish Ice Hockey Association’s big gala celebrating 100 years of Swedish hockey. It took a lot of effort for Salming to get up on stage to accept the award, but once he did, the standing ovation lasted for minutes.
When the news of Börje’s passing broke, several SHL games were playing. SHL is the top tier of Swedish hockey, and one of the teams playing was Brynas IF, Börje Salming’s former club.
To honor Börje Salming, fans of Brynäs and their opponents Leksand, started chanting ”Börje Salming” together.
The video of the chant has gone viral, and fans worldwide are now praising the supporters for their tremendous honoring of one of the all-time greats.
”You can feel the intensity, and the passion in how they chant his name,” one user said.
”My goodness … They’re chanting “Borje Salming” at a game in Sweden. RIP King,” said hockey reporter Kevin McGran.
”This is amazing,” said Canadian sportscaster John Shannon.
There was also a moment of silence for Börje Salming during all SHL games on Thursday.