Andreas Börje Salming (born 17.4.1951) is a Swedish former ice hockey defenceman. He played 17 seasons in NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings. Salming was one of the first European-born players to make an impact in NHL.
Salming played with Kiruna AIF (Sweden’s Division 2) from 1967-70. After that he moved to the Brynäs IF in the top division and played there 1970-73. Salming won league championships with Brynäs 1971 and 1972. Scout of Toronto Maple Leafs saw Salming playing in Sweden and Salming was signed as a free agent by the Maple Leafs 12.5.1973.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Börje Salming made his NHL debut at the beginning of the 1973-74 season. His first game was against the Buffalo Sabres – Toronto won 7-4 and Salming was named the best player of the game. At this time many North Americans thought that European players lacked the toughness to play in NHL. Salming did not care about that and he quickly became a fan favourite in Toronto. Salming played 16 seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs and made 768 (148+620) points in the NHL.
He still holds five career and single season Toronto Maple Leaf records – most career points by a defenceman, most career goals by a defenceman, most career assists in any position and most assists in a season by a defenceman. In 1989, Salming signed as a free agent with the Detroit Red Wings – he played one season there to finish his career in NHL. Salming completed his career in Sweden – he played three more seasons with AIK after retired.
Other interesting stuff
Salming was named once to the NHL First All-Star team in 1977 (5 times to the NHL Second All-Star Team). On 4.9.1986 Salming was suspended by the NHL for the entire 1986-87 season – he told in a newspaper interview that he had tried cocaine. Salming server just eight games of suspension before being reinstated. In 1996 Börje Salming became the first Swedish hockey player to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.