Not a single eye was dry when ALS sufferer Börje Salming was honored during a ceremony at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto this weekend. “It was very emotional,” says Salming’s former colleague Mats Sundin The evening paper.
Accompanied by his former colleagues from the Toronto Maple Leafs, hockey legends Darryl Sittler and Mats Sundin, a teary-eyed Börje Salming received the crowd’s cheers on Friday during a ceremony at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.
Salming played a total of 16 seasons and over 1,000 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs. When the ALS-affected sports star returned to the city on the occasion of the so-called Hall of Fame– the weekend was not a dry eye in the arena:
“It was… very emotional,” says Mats Sundin The evening paper. “But also fantastic to be able to participate and experience how Toronto shows Börje so much love. Börje took it in himself too, it was really noticeable. He feels the support he gets from this city.”
ALS – Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis – is a neurological disease which means that nerve cells in the brain, brainstem and spinal cord die. Since Salming was diagnosed this summer, his condition has rapidly deteriorated.
Despite this, he decided to make the trip to Canada to meet the Maple Leafs fans, something that his former teammate Darryl Sittler says is completely in line with his strong character:
“It’s so incredibly strong of Börje to come here and do this, but that’s his character and that’s how it’s always been,” says Sittler.
Game respects game. 🤝
Salming was the first Swedish-born player inducted into the Hall of Fame and remains the highest scoring defenseman in Maple Leafs history. 💙 pic.twitter.com/ZZY6e6y12o
— NHL (@NHL) November 12, 2022
Dedicated in its own ceremony
On the night of Sunday, another ceremony was organized, this time entirely in Salming’s honor. The ceremony took place in connection with the Maple Leafs’ game against Vancouver according to SVT Sports.
The hockey legend, surrounded by his family, received a standing ovation that lasted over two minutes as he took to the ice. He then dropped the ceremonial first puck to Vancouver’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Toronto’s William Nylander, whereupon the public address announcer called out:
“Start, all of Leafs Nation loves you!”