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This profile was last updated on 12/5/05  and contains information from public web pages.



Employment History

  • Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Defenseman

Board Memberships and Affiliations

  • Member
    Detroit Red Wings
  • Defenceman Salming Latest Member
    Maple Leafs' Legends Row
16 Total References
Web References
Legends of Hockey - Spotlight - One on One with Borje Salming, 5 Dec 2005 [cached]
One on One with Borje Salming
During a phenomenal career that spanned seventeen NHL seasons, Borje Salming earned the respect of teammates and foes alike, and garnered a reputation as one of the finest defensemen of his era.
Borje Salming was born on April 17, 1951 in Kiruna, the most northerly city in Sweden.His father, Erland, worked in the city's iron mines."There wasn't much money," admits Borje.
"He taught me not with words but by example," smiles Borje.
Borje was just five and sent, alone, to live with his grandparents in Murjek, a whistle-stop on the railway line from Stockholm to Kiruna.The youngster moved back home with his mother and brother not too long afterwards.
Borje and Stig often scraped the rink's ice before climbing over the boards to play.
His passion thus fuelled, Borje played the game with remarkable enthusiasm, and advanced rapidly through Kiruna's hockey ranks."It was great to be in the midst of the action, throwing myself back and forth to stop the puck," he explains.That style afforded Borje well through his spectacular career.
Following his brother south to play in the Swedish Elite League with Brynas, a team located just outside Stockholm in Gavle, Borje signed with the team in April 1970 and lived briefly with Stig and his wife before finding a residence of his own.
The Swedish national team summoned Borje to man their defense during this time.In the midst of the Summit Series in September 1972, Team Canada followed its four Canadian games with two exhibition matches in Sweden against Tre Kronor before heading off to Moscow to conclude the series."I had never dreamed of playing against them (NHL players)," he admits.
Salming and Hammarstrom were flown to Toronto, with the Maple Leafs hoping they'd impress the young men with the city, team and money enough that the Swedes would soon wear the Leafs' blue and white.
"I told myself not to be impressed, that I was dealing with flesh and blood people just like me," Salming remembers thinking.
Borje shakes his head."There were a lot of taunts of 'Chicken Swede.' There were threats to kill me.I heard every bad word there is.In Philadelphia, you would even have to stay away from the boards because they would try to grab you and yell at you."
Salming stood up to the challenges."In this league (NHL), they try to discourage you early.I got the treatment and so does every rookie.If you fight back, they'll eventually leave you alone and let you play hockey."Borje collected a respectable 39 points and at the end of the season, was chosen as Toronto's winner of the inaugural Molson Cup based on accumulating the most Three Star selections through the course of the season.
"My first year, I played very defensively, but after that first season, I was able to be more offensive-minded," Salming states.The statistics bore through.As a sophomore in 1974-75, Borje scored 12 goals, up from his 5 rookie markers, and was elected to the NHL's Second All-Star Team.In 1975-76, he scored 16 times and his point production leapt to 57.Again, he was named to the Second All-Star Team.Borje enjoyed a career campaign in 1976-77, finishing with 78 points and earning First All-Star Team status.Very quickly, Salming had established himself as one of the NHL's premier blueliners."Borje was a once-in-a-lifetime find," said McNamara in a late-seventies' interview . "Here is a player you can mention in the same sentence with Bobby Orr, Brad Park and Larry Robinson when you're talking about the great defensemen of the modern era."
Darryl Sittler and Borje Salming emerged as the team's leaders and the two pingponged back and forth as the team's Molson Cup recipient.
Salming took the award in 1974, 1977, 1978 and 1980 while Sittler won in 1975, 1976, 1979 and 1981.
As the team twisted and turned in the wind, Salming continued to deliver outstanding work from his blueline spot.Teams, hoping to pluck the little remaining meat from a well-weathered carcass, hoped to pick up Salming in a trade, but Maple Leafs owner Harold Ballard claimed he " ...
In 1982, Salming was recipient of the now-defunct Charlie Conacher Memorial Trophy for humanitarian contributions and public service.But the tides turned through the eighties.In 1983-84, Borje cracked his kneecap.In May of 1986, as Sports Illustrated was about to print a story about Salming's alleged cocaine use, the defenseman stepped forward and admitted that, in the past, he had indeed briefly experimented socially with the drug.Although Borje was lauded for his candor, he was suspended for eight games to start the 1986-87 season."I was the only one to come forward about it, so I was the one example," Salming shrugs."I have no regrets and I have nothing against (then-NHL president ) John Ziegler."
Upon his return, Borje was involved in a goalmouth scramble that saw the skate of the Red Wings' Gerard Gallant accidentally catch him in the face and carve his features for a gruesome 250 stitches.
Yet, Borje came back, committed and effective, and continued his effective play after receiving the brutal injury.
Trade rumours continued to swirl naming Salming at the base of deals involving several different teams.
But Ballard hoped to be able to allow Salming the opportunity to win the Stanley Cup before his career had concluded.
A rumour circulated that Ballard had attempted to loan Borje to the Edmonton Oilers for a mid-eighties playoff run, but the NHL quickly squashed those thoughts.
Borje, all the while, was resolute in his intentions."If I do get to play on a (Stanley Cup) winner, I want it to be in Toronto."
Finally, during the summer of 1989 and after 16 superb seasons, Borje's career with the Maple Leafs came to an end.He left holding several team marks , most assists by a member of the Maple Leafs, most goals by a Leaf defenseman, most points by a defenseman with the Leafs, third most games played as a Leaf (behind George Armstrong and Tim Horton) and third most points as a Leaf (behind Darryl Sittler and Dave Keon)."I enjoyed every minute of it," beams Borje."We had a lot of fun and crazy times."
For 1989-90, Borje Salming signed as a free agent with the Detroit Red Wings.
Borje shrugged at the announcement that he'd be joining the Red Wings."Instead of blue and white it'll be red and white, but that's life and life has to go on.I'll go to them and give them everything I've got, just like I did in Toronto.That's my way of playing."Salming added a measure of leadership and stability to Detroit's young blueline.
At the end of that season, Borje retired from the National Hockey League but continued his professional hockey career back home in Sweden.Shortly after competing for Sweden at the Olympics in 1992, Borje Salming concluded his hockey career.
The statistics lead to an inevitable conclusion: a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame.Borje played 1,148 regular season NHL games, scoring 150 goals and adding 637 assists for 787 points.He also collected 1,344 penalty minutes.Borje was a First Team All-Star once and a Second Team selection five times.Twice he was runner-up for the Norris Trophy as the league's best defenseman.Salming also served his homeland with distinction, representing Sweden three times at the World Cup championships and was named an all-star at the 1989 tournament.He played for Sweden in three Canada Cup series as well and was selected as an all-star in 1976.In 1996, Borje Salming was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame, joining Bobby Bauer in the Veterans Category and Builder Al Arbour.
Salming was the first Swede to be so honoured and was just the second European-trained player in the Hall of Fame, following Soviet-born Vladislav Tretiak.
To this day, Borje Salming is one of the most popular Toronto players; a Maple Leaf forever, if you will."I'm always warmly welcomed in the Leafs dressing room.For me, Toronto is my second hometown and the Mecca of hockey."
Following his hockey career, Borje stretched into other business ventures, including underwear."It wasn't my idea," he laughs."Some advertising guy came up to me back in 1992 with the concept.I had just moved back here (Sweden) from Toronto and was playing in the Swedish league for AIK at the time.I looked at the guy and said, 'Why underwear?' The more I looked at it, the more I discovered it was not such a bad idea."
Borje is also part-owner of Salming Sports (, a company that is making aggressive and outstanding inroads in the competitive North American sporting goods market.
Borje Salming, 15 June 2001 [cached]
Borje Salming
Borje Salming
Defense, Shoots Left, 6' 1", 195 lbs.Born: Kiruna, Sweden - April 17, 1951.
There are many who doubted that a European player could break through to superstar status in the NHL.Borje Salming proved them wrong.
In December of 1972 Gerry McNamara, a scout for the Toronto Maple Leafs, traveled to Sweden to scout a goaltender.But to his excitement he happened to become endeared with Borje Salming, a defenseman skilled at skating and shot blocking.McNamara convinced the Leafs to take a closer look at Salming and, after paying a $50,000 transfer fee to the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation, signed him.
Before arriving in North America, Salming skated for Kiruna AIF of the Swedish Second Division and Brynas IF Gavle in the Swedish Elite League.During the six years Salming played in his home country before traveling to North America he represented Sweden four times in various international competitions.
Salming first appeared in a Toronto sweater in the 1973-74 campaign and posted an impressive 39 points and a plus-38 rating.Statistics aside, it was quite an accomplishment just for Salming to stick out the entire season with the Maple Leafs as he was the subject of terrible verbal harassment from opponents who took opposition to a European playing in the NHL.Europeans were generally seen as soft players, but Salming proved his mettle in a contest against the Philadelphia Flyers by rushing the puck right through the "Broad Street Bullies" with disregard of the dirty tactics used by the Flyers team.Salming, by no means a soft player, finally earned the respect he deserved from the other North American players.
Salming adjusted well to the North American style of play and began posting impressive numbers over the next few seasons by scoring double digits in goals and registering 70-plus points for four straight years beginning with the 1976-77 season.Toronto owner Harold Ballard took a strong liking to the Swede and by 1980 Salming was signed to a five-year deal worth in the neighborhood of $275,000 per year, which made the defenseman the highest paid player in Leafs history at the time.Additionally, there was an option to keep Salming wearing the Leafs crest for another six seasons and other incentives and bonuses that made him a very rich man.
Toronto hockey fans who remember having seen Salming play often refer to him as one of the greatest Maple Leafs to wear the blue and white, but many have forgotten some of the setbacks that the defenseman faced during his career.The darkest of times perhaps was his suspension from the Maple Leafs for admitting to cocaine use.Others will say that a 1978 postseason contest in which he almost lost his eye from New York Islanders' Lorne Henning's stick was Salming's toughest moment as a pro in North America.And the Toronto media still question why Salming, more often than not, avoided the press.
For 16 seasons, Salming brought great skill and leadership to the Maple Leafs.However, Salming did not finish his NHL career with Toronto.Salming played his last NHL season as a member of the Detroit Red Wings, having been signed to a contract on June 12, 1989.After leaving professional hockey in North America for good, the rugged blueliner went back to his native Sweden where he played for two seasons and part of a third for AIK Solna Stockholm.
On the international stage, Salming twice represented Sweden at the European Junior Championships and three times at the World and European Championships.Salming played for Sweden in three Canada Cup tournaments, represented the NHL All-Stars in the 1979 Challenge Cup, and was a member of the 1992 Swedish Olympic squad.
Borje Salming never hoisted the Stanley Cup, but his career was impressive nonetheless.Salming was named to the NHL First All-Star Team in 1977 and the NHL Second All-Star Team five times.He participated in three All-Star contests and was named to the 1976 Canada Cup All-Star squad for his fine play during the tournament.He is also largely responsible for the infusion of European talent in North America.Salming is now immortalized in Hockey's Hall of Fame, having been inducted in 1996.
Borje Salming - Career Statistics
Borje Salming: Career Achievements
Borje ..., 1 Jan 2014 [cached]
Borje Salming
Defenceman Salming latest member of Maple Leafs' Legends Row
The Canadian Press
Borje Salming
Borje Salming, Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
TORONTO - At 63, Borje Salming looks like he could still play on the Leafs' blue-line. He can certainly still tell a story.
The legendary former Toronto defenceman drew laughs during a news conference between periods Friday night when he was asked about the first time he encountered fellow Swede Peter Forsberg, who will join Salming in the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday.
Salming, who is 22 years older than Forsberg, recalled a game late in his career when he played for AIK against Forsberg and Modo in the Swedish Elite League.
"He was going crazy on the ice, screaming at refs and everything," Salming recalled. "And I sort of tried to calm him down and said 'Relax, you're going to get a match penalty.'"
Forsberg responded with an F-bomb, Salming added.
"And I thought 'That was me a few years back," Salming said, adding an F-bomb of his own between laughs. "That was nice. I don't think he remembered that though,"
The blue language made it through the entire building as the press room availability was shown on the Air Canada Centre scoreboard.
Salming was a guest of honour at Friday's Leafs game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, drawing a warm reception when introduced.
Salming joined Toronto in 1973 and earned NHL second all-star team honours in his sophomore season. In 1,019 games with the Leafs, Salming had 137 goals and 738 points.
"Playing in the 70's was fantastic, we had such a good team," he said of the Leafs.
Salming, as one of the Swedish trailblazers in the league, took his lumps in the NHL.
"That was part of the game. We knew that when I was coming over, me and Inge Hammarstrom," he said.
Salming played his final season in the NHL with Detroit and spent three more seasons with AIK before retiring in 1993. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in '96.
"Borje paved the way for all the Swedish players in the National Hockey League.
Oh, thanks so much," Salming said with a laugh.
In The Game : News, 13 Jan 2005 [cached]
HSHS-5 Bryan McCabe / Borje Salming (Toronto Maple Leafs®)
Sundin is the second Swede in ..., 26 June 2012 [cached]
Sundin is the second Swede in the Hall after another Toronto great, defenseman Borje Salming.
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