The organization revealed on Wednesday that former Toronto Maple Leaf defenseman Borje Salming has been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, often known as ALS.

Salming released a statement in which he said, “I have heard the news that has shaken my family and me.” “Everything changed in a flash.”

Salming, who spent 16 seasons (1973–1989) with the Leafs and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996, stated that although there is no known cure for the illness, there are therapies that can halt its growth.

“I do not know how the days ahead will be, but I understand that there will be challenges greater than anything I have ever faced,” Salming said in a statement. “I also recognize that there is no cure but there are numerous worldwide trials going on and there will be a cure one day.

“Since I started playing ice hockey as a little kid in Kiruna, and throughout my career, I have given it my all. And I will continue to do so.”

Typically two to five years after the onset of symptoms, ALS is a degenerative nerve system illness that causes paralysis, the inability to swallow, respiratory failure, and death.

Salming’s doctor, Dr. Caroline Ingre, stated in a statement: “ALS is a severe disease that not only affects the muscles but can also impact personality and cognitive abilities.”

“In about 70% of diagnoses, the disease starts with symptoms from the spinal cord, which increasingly weakens the patient’s arms and legs, while in about 30% it starts around the mouth and throat, leading to slurred speech and difficulties swallowing,” she said. “These patients also often have an associated emotional impact that manifests itself as uncontrollable laughter or crying.”

Salming, A Pioneering Star Of Europe

He played 1,099 games with the Leafs and now holds the fourth-highest career point total on the franchise with 768 points.

Another Hall of Famer and former Maple Leaf captain, Mats Sundin, referred to Salming as “Borje’s paved the way for all the Swedish players in the National Hockey League” in 2014.

The Legends Row statue outside the Toronto Maple Leafs‘ arena, which celebrates the group’s finest players, features Salming’s picture.

In 2017, a group of former players, coaches, business leaders, and media members selected him as one of the 100 best NHL players in history.

Borje Salming Breaks Into Tears When The Maple Leafs Honoured Him

BORJE SALMING BREAKS INTO TEARS

Under the right circumstances, even legends will cry. The pregame ceremony for the yearly Hall of Fame game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Toronto Maple Leafs took place on Friday at Scotiabank Arena.

Darryl Sittler and Mats Sundin, who are both members of the Hockey Hall of Fame, were seen there sobbing while standing on the ice and holding onto their friend Borje Salming, who was standing in front of them.

One of the most beloved players in Maple Leaf’s history and the first Swedish player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, Salming, received an ALS diagnosis earlier this year. He can no longer speak because of the illness.

Sittler picked up Salming’s arm and assisted him in waving as the audience gave him a standing ovation. The roar from the crowded crowd increased in volume.

Sittler added, his eyes welling up, “Nobody will ever forget this moment, this game, or this night.” It was what Borje desired. He told us he wanted to be here for Hall of Fame weekend even months ago, after being diagnosed. Now, look at him.

BORJE SALMING BREAKS INTO TEARS

“To be here tonight, next to him, was a beautiful occasion I’ll never forget. Additionally, I think hockey fans will.

Sittler asserts that Salming will feel the same way, despite the fact that he is unable to do so verbally due to his condition.

Salming, according to Sittler, could sense the love in the air. It was one of those instances that were simultaneously heartwarming and devastating.

Final Words

Börje Salming, the best defensive player in Toronto Maple Leaf’s history, has lost his ability to speak as a result of ALS, also referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Salming disclosed that he had ALS in August, saying that “in one second, everything changed.” 

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