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Borje Salming
BorjeSalmingToronto.jpg
Born April 17, 1951 (1951-04-17) (age 68)
Kiruna, Sweden
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight 209 lb (95 kg; 14 st 13 lb)
Position Defence
Shoots Left
Played for Kiruna AIF (Division 2)
Brynäs IF (SEL)
Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)
Detroit Red Wings (NHL)
AIK Hockey (SEL)
National team Flag of Sweden.svg Sweden
NHL Draft Undrafted
Playing career 1967–1993
Hall of Fame, 1996

Borje Salming (born Anders Börje Salming on April 17, 1951) is a retired Swedish professional ice hockey defenceman.

He was one of the first European players to make an impact in the National Hockey League (NHL) and paved the way for future generations of players.

Borje played for Kiruna AIF, Brynäs IF, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Detroit Red Wings and AIK.

He was one of the premier defencemen of his era in the NHL and was recognized for this by being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996. He also played extensively for Sweden in international play.

Borje was recognized for this by being selected to the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Centennial All-Star Team.

Early LifeEdit

Borje was born in the village of Salmi, Jukkasjärvi församling (in Kiruna near Torneträsk). His father, Erland was of Sami origin and his mother, Karin was Swedish.

His paternal grandfather, Anders Nikolaus had the surname of Saari, but he changed to Salming after the village that he and his father (Börje's great-grandfather) had built up.

Borje's father was a mineworker and died in an accident in the mine when he was 5 years old. He is proud of his Sami heritage and wears a traditional Sami pewter bracelet.

Borje followed in his brother's footsteps playing ice hockey and also played handball.

Playing CareerEdit

Professional Playing CareerEdit

Borje played with Kiruna AIF in Sweden's Division 2 from 1967–1970 before joining Brynäs in the top division between 1970 and 1973. With him on the team, Brynäs won league championships in 1971 and 1972.

On May 12, 1973, Borje was signed as a free agent by the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was not the Leafs target when they began scouting in Sweden; they were actually interested in Inge Hammarstrom, but scout Gerry McNamara reported back positively on Borje after seeing him play.

Borje made his National Hockey League (NHL) debut with the Leafs at the beginning of the 1973-74 NHL season against the Buffalo Sabres. After a 7–4 victory, he was named the best player of the game.

At the end of the season, Borje had recorded 39 points.

Prior to Borje, the consensus in North American hockey circles was that European players lacked the toughness to play North American hockey (with those from Sweden even being referred to as "Chicken Swedes").

However, Borje did much to permanently eradicate that reputation. He played in 1148 regular season games (1099 of them with the Leafs), 81 playoff games and scored 150 goals and 637 assists in the NHL.

Borje was named a First Team All-Star in 1977 and was selected to the Second Team in 1975, 1976, 1978, 1979 and 1980. He spent 16 seasons with the Maple Leafs, recording 768 points (148 goals, 620 assists).

On November 26, 1986, (late in a game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Red Wings in Detroit), Borje was knocked down in front of the Leafs' net and Gerard Gallant of the Red Wings accidentally cut his face with his skate blade. The injury required facial surgery and more than two hundred stitches to his face.

In 1989, after sixteen years with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Borje signed as a free agent with the Red Wings (for whom he played one season to finish his career in the NHL).

He completed his pro hockey career with AIK of the Swedish Elite League.

SuspensionEdit

On September 4, 1986, Borje was suspended by the NHL for the entire 1986-87 NHL season for admitting in a newspaper interview that he had tried cocaine. However, he served just eight games of the suspension before being reinstated.

International Playing CareerEdit

Borje was a fan favourite in Toronto. The peak of his popularity may have come during the 1976 Canada Cup which was held at Maple Leaf Gardens.

When Team Sweden was playing against the United States, Borje received an extended standing ovation during player introductions.

He later commented, "I'll never forget our game in Toronto. The fans gave me a standing ovation during the introductions. I was representing my country and Canadian fans gave me a standing ovation. Sometimes hockey has no country."

RetirementEdit

After the end of his active hockey career, Borje moved into the sports underwear business with his own brand "Salming Underwear."

In 2007, at age 56, he posed nude for acclaimed Swedish graffiti artist Johan A Wattberg to create 31 paintings that were initially exhibited in Sweden before going on permanent display at The SPORT Gallery in Toronto, Canada.

Career StatisticsEdit

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1967–68 Kiruna AIF Swe-2 8
1968–69 Kiruna AIF Swe-2 13
1969–70 Kiruna AIF Swe-2 16 5 5
1970–71 Brynäs IF Swe-1 14 0 5 5 6 13 2 1 3 16
1971–72 Brynäs IF Swe-1 14 1 1 2 20 14 0 4 4 30
1972–73 Brynäs IF Swe-1 14 2 3 5 20 12 3 1 4 24
1973–74 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 76 5 34 39 48 4 0 1 1 4
1974–75 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 60 12 25 37 34 7 0 4 4 6
1975–76 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 78 16 41 57 70 10 3 4 7 9
1976–77 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 76 12 66 78 46 9 3 6 9 6
1977–78 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 80 16 60 76 70 6 2 2 4 6
1978–79 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 78 17 56 73 76 6 0 1 1 8
1979–80 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 74 19 52 71 94 3 1 1 2 2
1980–81 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 72 5 61 66 154 3 0 2 2 4
1981–82 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 69 12 44 56 170
1982–83 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 69 7 38 45 104 4 1 4 5 10
1983–84 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 68 5 38 43 192
1984–85 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 73 6 33 39 176
1985–86 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 41 7 15 22 48 10 1 6 7 14
1986–87 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 56 4 16 20 42 13 0 3 3 14
1987–88 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 66 2 24 26 82 6 1 3 4 8
1988–89 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 63 3 17 20 86
1989–90 Detroit Red Wings NHL 49 2 17 19 52
1990–91 AIK IF SEL 36 4 9 13 46
1991–92 AIK IF SEL 38 6 14 20 98 3 0 2 2 6
1992–93 AIK IF SEL 6 1 0 1 10
NHL totals 1148 150 637 787 1344 81 12 37 49 91

International PlayEdit

  • Bronze medal at the World Championships in 1972.
  • Silver medal at the World Championships in 1973.

Awards & AchievementsEdit

In 1996, Borje became the first Swedish hockey player to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

In 1998, he was ranked 74th on The Hockey News' list of the 100 Greatest NHL Hockey Players, the highest-ranked player from Sweden.

On October 4, 2006, Borje's #21 along with Red Kelly's and Hap Day's #4 was honoured and raised to the top of the Air Canada Centre by the Toronto Maple Leafs in a ceremony before their first game of the 2006-07 NHL season.

  • Named to the All-Star Team at the World Ice Hockey Championships in 1973.
  • Named to the Swedish All-Star Team in 1973 and 1989.
  • Named to the NHL Second All-Star Team in 1975, 1976, 1978, 1979 and 1980.
  • Named to the NHL First All-Star Team in 1977.
  • Awarded the Viking Award (Best Swede in North America) in 1976, 1977 and 1979.
  • Awarded the Molson Cup (Most 3 Star Selections) in 1974, 1977, 1978 and 1980.
  • Named to the Canada Cup All-Star Team in 1976.
  • Played in the NHL All-Star Game in 1976, 1977 and 1978.
  • Awarded the Charlie Conacher Humanitarian Award in 1982.
  • Played for Team NHL in the 1979 Challenge Cup.
  • Named to the IIHF Hall of Fame in 1998.
  • Named to the IIHF centennial All Stars team in 2008.

RecordsEdit

  • Holds the NHL record for most career points by an undrafted defenceman (787).
  • Holds 6 career and single season Toronto Maple Leaf records including most career points by a defenseman, most career goals by a defenceman, most career assists (any position), most assists in a season by a defenceman, and best career plus-minus.