Legends of Hockey - Induction Showcase - Borje Salming
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1996 Hockey Hall of Fame Inductees

Borje Salming
Players' Category

During a rewarding career that spanned seventeen NHL seasons, Borje Salming earned a place as one of the best two -way defencemen in the game. He was the first European-trained player to make a significant impact in the league. Salming's accomplishments and longevity in the NHL helped pave the way for many subsequent European stars.
Born in Kiruna, Sweden on April 17, 1951, Salming spent his formative years with the Kiruna AIF junior club. He was considered proficient enough to represent his area in the national TV-Puck junior competition and skate on the Swedish National Junior Team. In 1968 he helped the Swedes take second place at the Junior European Cup tournament in West Germany. Throughout this period Salming was heavily influenced by his brother Stig who was also a top player for Sweden.

Salming then moved up to the Gavle-based Brynas club of the Swedish Elite League. He excelled on the blueline of this team and helped them win the league championship in 1971 and 1972. He also acquired valuable experience with the Swedish "B" Team, known as the Vikings, and eventually with the "A" Team, known as the "Tre Kronor". Salming debuted in the colours of the latter on September 11, 1971 in a match against Czechoslovakia in Stockholm. He later represented his country at the 1972 and 1973 World Hockey Championships. In 1973 it was Salming's spectacular goal in the medal round match versus Finland that gave Sweden the victory it needed to clinch the silver medal. Following the 1972-73 season he was chosen the outstanding player in Sweden.

While he was at the peak of his domestic career Salming was noticed by Toronto Maple Leafs' scout Gerry McNamara. During an exhibition match against the touring Barrie Flyers, Salming's stellar play and unwillingness to back down impressed McNamara. On May 12, 1973 Salming and compatriot Inge Hammarstrom agreed to join Toronto in what became an historically significant move. In his rookie campaign of 1973-74 Salming accumulated a respectable 39 points but more importantly handled the rough side of the NHL quite easily. At the end of the season he was the recipient of the inaugural Molson Cup based on points accumulated via the three star selection after each game. Salming won this trophy four out of the first seven years it was presented.
By his second NHL campaign he was among the NHL's elite blueliners. Salming's exemplary play as a sophomore earned him selection to the NHL Second All-Star Team.
Salming combined remarkable puck handling skills with superior defensive play and became one of Toronto's most respected and popular players. In 1976 he appeared in his first of three consecutive NHL All-Star Games. A measure of Salming's immense popularity was clearly evident at the inaugural Canada Cup tournament in 1976. During the player introductions prior to the Canada vs. Sweden game, Salming received a louder ovation than anyone on the Canadian squad. He was brilliant throughout the tournament and was chosen to the Canada Cup All-Star Team.
During the 1980's Salming reached a number of milestones while serving as the elder statesman on the Toronto blueline. On January 4, 1988 he became the first European player to appear in 1,000 NHL games. Following his last year in Toronto in 1988-89, Salming stood as the club's career leader in assists and goals by a defenseman.

Salming joined the Detroit Red Wings as a free agent in 1989-90 where he added stability and experience to the club's blueline corps. At the conclusion of that season he left the NHL but continued his professional career with AIK Solna of the Swedish Elite Division. He remained with the club until the early stages of the 1992-93 season when he brought his distinguished playing days to an end.

In 1,148 NHL regular season games spread over seventeen seasons, Salming totalled 150 goals and 787 points. He also accumulated 12 goals and 49 points in 81 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He was voted on to the NHL First All-Star Team once and the NHL Second All-Star Team on five occasions. Twice he was runner-up in the voting for the James Norris Trophy as the NHL's top defenseman. In 1976, 1977 and 1979 he was the recipient of the Viking Award as the top Swedish player in the NHL/WHA as chosen by a poll of players from his own country. On the international stage he represented Sweden with distinction at the 1976, 1981 and 1991 Canada Cups. He also participated in the World Hockey Championships in 1972,1973,1982 and 1989.
 1996 Inductees