It’s been an emotional weekend for all Toronto Maple Leafs fans. Börje Salming played in Toronto for 16 years but is now going through the battle of his life, having been diagnosed with ALS.
On Friday evening, the Maple Leafs honoured Salming before the game against Pittsburgh Penguins, and many tears were shed. It was time for another honouring on Saturday, and it was just as powerful as Salming was on center ice with his closest family.
Börje Salming became the first Swedish player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996 and still holds several records in Toronto. Börje Salming played in the NHL at a time when hockey was more brutal. And as a non-American, Salming was always a target.
But Salming never backed down and proved himself again and again. He was one of the toughest players in the NHL during the 70s and 80s, and Toronto fans will always love him for it.
But just how tough was Börje Salming? According to a Swedish magazine, Salming blocked a shot with his face during a playoff game against the Philadelphia Flyers. Salming, covered in blood, headed for the bench to get stitched up.
Five minutes later, he was back on the ice with blood all over his jersey. But Salming didn’t let that stop him. The first thing he did was to throw himself down to block another shot.
He scored a goal a couple of shifts later, and the Toronto fans went wild.
”He showed courage of which I had never seen before. Since then, nobody has called Börje a chicken Swede,” a Toronto fan told the magazine.