Maple Leafs will add Salming to Legends Row

The pride of both Toronto and Sweden, D-man Borje Salming ushered in an era of European acceptance (Doug Griffin/Toronto Star)

Borje Salming will be the next Toronto Maple Leafs great to be added to Legends Row, the club announced Friday.

A statue of the Hall of Fame defenceman, arguably the greatest Leafs blueliner ever, will be unveiled at the Leafs Nation FanFest in September 2015.

Legends Row, a monument to honour the greatest players in the Original Six club’s history, was unveiled prior to this season at the inaugural FanFest. It features statues of centres Darryl Sittler and Ted Kennedy as well as goaltender Johnny Bower.

The 63-year-old Salming spent 16 seasons as a Maple Leaf. He holds five career and single-season records for the Leafs as well as the NHL record for most points by an undrafted defenceman (787).

“Salming deserves credit for helping to open the doors in the NHL for many of the European players that followed,” Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said, via press release. “Borje was offensively gifted but he was especially loved by Toronto fans for his toughness and he will make an outstanding addition to Legends Row.”

Three or more other statues will join Salming’s on Legends Row next September, a group determined by the Leafs’ historical committee.

“Wearing the Toronto Maple Leaf sweater for 16 seasons was a great honour, but to be recognized among some of the top players with a statue on Legends Row, especially with my teammate Darryl Sittler, is something I couldn’t have imagined,” said Salming. “I always look back on my time in Toronto with fondness and enjoy the chance to visit every chance I get. The chance to come back for the statue unveiling next September with my family will be very special.”

In 1,019 games with the Leafs, Salming totaled 137 goals and 738 points. He scored an additional 12 goals and 49 points in 81 playoff games. He was voted to the NHL First All-Star Team in 1977, the Second All-Star Team five times, and was the first player from Sweden to enter the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996.

In October 2006, Salming’s No. 21 was raised to the rafters at Air Canada Centre.

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