Hall of Fame defenseman Borje Summing dies at 71 after battling ALS

Hall of Fame defenseman Borje Salming, who spent 16 NHL seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, has died at the age of 71 after battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

The Maple Leafs confirmed Summing’s death in a statement.

Team principal Brendan Shanahan said Salming opened the door to Europeans in the NHL.

“Borge was a pioneer of the game, an icon of fortitude and unquestionable toughness,” said Shanahan. “(Salming) defined himself through his playing on the ice and his contribution to the community.”

Toronto signed Summing as a free agent prior to the 1973-74 season.

A native of Kiruna, Sweden, he played 1,099 regular season games with the Leafs and established team records for assists (620) and goals (148), points (768) and playoff points by defense (49).

Salming spent 17 NHL seasons with the Detroit Red Wings before retiring after the 1989-90 season.

In August, Salming announced that he had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

“I don’t know what the future holds, but I know there are major challenges that we haven’t faced before,” Salming said at the time. A number of clinical trials are being conducted, and a treatment method will eventually be established.

“Since I started playing ice hockey at Kiruna as a young boy, I have given it my all throughout my career, and I will continue to do so.”

Salming made his final appearance on Toronto’s center ice earlier this month before the Leafs’ game against the Vancouver Canucks at Scotiabank Arena.

With family and former teammates by his side, Summing received a standing ovation from the appreciative crowd as a video chronicling his career played on the scoreboard before the puck dropped.

Deprived of speech and some mobility, Salming shook hands with every member of the Maple Leafs and slowly left the ice.

“To see how a guy like Borge was received by the fans, what he did for this organization while he was here, and what he still means to the city is a great way to play. I think he has a lot in his sights as a player,” Leafs forward Ouston Matthews said after the game.

“Having someone like him and someone who paved the way for us means a lot. You could just see it and feel it.”


Hall of Fame defenseman Borje Summing dies at 71 after battling ALS

Source link Hall of Fame defenseman Borje Summing dies at 71 after battling ALS

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