Home Recent News The Swedish giant resisted everyone, but could not overcome a serious illness

The Swedish giant resisted everyone, but could not overcome a serious illness

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The one who opened the doors to the NHL for Europeans. The legendary Salming died (71)

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Some survive ten years. He is only seven months old. In April, he was diagnosed with an incurable neuromuscular disease, and the world learned about it in August. A person suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) gradually loses control over all the muscles of the body. When Börje Salming left the ice after the bullpen before Toronto’s game with Vancouver, a wheelchair was waiting for him. His family soon announced that he would no longer perform in public. But no one expected such a quick end.

Mats Sundin, another Swedish Maple Leafs legend, accompanied him to Toronto two weeks ago with his wife Pia, six adult children and other family members in a private jet. He also stood next to him on the ice. Salming wept sedately. “It was so special for him. We won’t forget either. He wanted to say goodbye in this way. To the fans, to the city, to all of us,” said former Maple Leafs captain Darryl Sittler.

Salming became the first European NHL star at a time when only Cadian and American players were active in the league. He was discovered in Scandivia by scout Jerry McNamara, who at the end of 1972 went to watch the matches of the Swedish league, noticed him in the match of the Brunhes Gävle team. Immediately after that, he flew to the phone and said that he had found a player who was worthy of the first round of the draft. Salming came to Toronto ahead of the next season as a hockey curiosity. But they found a hidden treasure in it. Today, his number 21 hangs under the roof of the hall, in front of which he has a statue next to other greats.

He went to the Maple Leafs from Gävle along with striker Ingo Hammarström. He became a mainstay of their defense and a favorite of the stands. The Stanley Cup is not on his list of achievements, but he was selected to the league’s first or second All-Star team six times and was a Norris Trophy filist four times. In 1979, he competed in the Challenge Cup against the USSR.

He played over 1,000 NHL games, spent 16 seasons in Toronto, ended up in Detroit, and was still playing professiolly into his forties. In 1996, he became the first Swedish player to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. “Beurier was a pioneer of hockey and an icon of indomitable spirit, he helped the Europeans open the door to the NHL. He defined his game and his contribution to the community,” said Brendan Shahan, president of the Maple Leafs.

A thin, lanky guy with protruding cheekbones and a long, almost sad face, he, like few hockey players, changed in hockey. It combined Swedish smoothness with North American hardness. There were times when there was violence in the NHL too. Rivals went out on the ice every night, smearing it on the sides or chopping it into pieces. Salming and Hammarström were derided as “Swedish bastards”. But, at least in Salming’s case, a derogatory nickme didn’t fit.

He was indestructible. Modest, brave, strong. Either they pinched him with sticks, or they wanted to make a punching bag out of him. The fearsome Dave “Kladivo” Schultz of Philadelphia started right behind him in Game 2. The referee stopped the fight. It ended in a draw. This was Salming’s first major victory. They thought he was a coward, but he was quite the opposite.

He played with bruises on his face, in bloody equipment. He received wide recognition not only for his playing, but also for how much he went through. He never backed down, calmly threw off his gloves. He blocked shots fearlessly and played brilliantly. Hundreds of scars remained on his face for the rest of his life, giving him an almost demonic appearance. Meanwhile, off the ice, the wrinkled Viking was kind and helpful. Only after him, his compatriots Anders Hedberg, Ulf Nilsson, Lars-Erik Sjoberg or Kent Nilsson, as well as the Czech refugee Vaclav Nedomansky, lit up across the ocean. He became a role model, teacher and friend to others.

He was revered as a hero and treated everything without pomp and dignity. He was suspended for the entire season after he admitted to using cocaine once. The ban was later reduced to eight matches. He received sty injuries. Once I cut his face with a skate, it was only a centimeter, and he lost his right eye. His face was sewn with 250 stitches. Two years ago, he started having trouble breathing. He contracted covid and was admitted to the hospital. He later admitted in an interview that he thought he would die.

In his tive Kiru, the street where he grew up as a boy was recently med after him. Unlike all the obstacles that a tough guy from a small mining town in the Arctic Circle had to overcome, ALS was not an opponent that he could defeat. He fell ill in a particularly aggressive form. He knew what was going to happen, he wanted to say goodbye. Two weeks ago in Toronto, he already knew he was waving for the last time.

NHL

20 hours ago

The one who opened the doors to the NHL for Europeans. The legendary Salming died (71)

Flash sport

October 19, 2022 • 12:21 pm

Hockey legend Salming suffers: ALS makes him uble to even speak!

Hockey legend Salming suffers: ALS makes him uble to even speak!

Source: E15

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