Legendary Maple Leaf Borje Salming Has Been Diagnosed with ALS

A special thank you to Taylor Dean, Mike Ferriman, Lia Pellegrino, Darryl Sittler, and Nitsa Staikos is given at the outset of this week’s 32 Thoughts.

It would be hard to name every person. These are only a few of the major players in the conception and execution of the wonderful weekend homage to Borje Salming; undoubtedly, many others played significant roles.

Ferriman, Director of Event Presentation and Director of Alumni Relations, noted that everyone simply stepped up to do what they could.

You are familiar with Hall of Famer Sittler. The Director of Game Presentation for the Maple Leafs is Dean. Pellegrino serves as President Brendan Shanahan’s assistant. Vice-President of Retention, Membership, and VIP Hospitality is Staikos.

Daniel Alfredsson Can Relate to Borje Salming’s Struggle with Lou Gehrig’s Illness.

borje salming illness

Salming, one of only four Swedish players inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, will be formally honored on Monday night alongside twin siblings Daniel and Henrik Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks and former captain Daniel Alfredsson of the Ottawa Senators.

Alfredsson added, “I’m heartbroken for him, to see what he’s going through. “I haven’t directly spoken to him, but reading the news about how it’s progressing so swiftly makes you feel bad for him because he is genuinely a Swedish hockey great.

He was a trailblazer for hockey players in Sweden. He arrived and faced many of the challenges that come with playing in the NHL. The way he conducted himself and consistently demonstrated his abilities prepared the way for the following generation.

Read more: Deadline Founder Nikki Finke’s Illness Led to Meeting Her Deadline

Salming Wore a Leafs Uniform from 1973 to 1989.

borje salming illness

He was such an icon and a humble man, too, so this affects everyone, Alfredsson added. He endured so much fighting. He is practically indestructible because of the character he possesses, which allowed him to recover from all of his wounds while still sporting scars and sutures.

“It’s horrible to see him the way he is, and we all feel for him.” It means a lot to Alfredsson and the Sedins to join Salming, Mats Sundin, Peter Forsberg, and Nicklas Lidstrom in the Hall of Fame for this reason, among others.

I’m very pleased about that since Sweden laid the groundwork for my hockey career, Alfredsson added. “I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had excellent youth coaches while growing up. Although I wasn’t always happy about it, my father (Hasse) coached me for at least seven years and possibly more. However, for the most part, he was excellent.

Other coaches also had a significant impact on me and helped pave the way for my professional hockey career. I’m really happy to be one of the three Swedish players competing this year.

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Family Members Discuss the Specifics of His Als Battle

Darryl Sittler considers the ALS diagnosis of his friend and former teammate Börje Salming. Darryl Sittler, a former player for the Toronto Maple Leafs, joins Ron MacLean to discuss his buddy and teammate Borje Salming, the first European to play in the NHL and currently battling ALS.

Börje Salming, a former defenseman for the Toronto Maple Leafs, spoke candidly to the Swedish daily Expressen about his battle with ALS, which he said has rendered him mute and made it challenging for him to eat regularly. Pia Salming, Salming’s wife, told Expressen that “his disease is moving up extremely fast.”

According to the ALS Society of Canada, ALS “is a disease that gradually paralyzes people because the brain is no longer able to connect with the muscles of the body that we are normally able to move at will.”

Salming, 71, first sensed a problem in February 2022 after experiencing an odd muscle twitch. He had to withdraw from an alumni game the following month.

When the official diagnosis was made in July, it set off a depression that made his living at home impossible. According to Pia, “He was so depressed that he couldn’t talk to me either.” I and Börje have always been quite close and have talked to each other frequently.

Salming is compelled to eat through a tube and communicates primarily through an iPad speech synthesizer. Some horticultural tasks, like watering his plants, do provide him comfort.

The sickness is not severe enough for the former NHL player to need round-the-clock hospital care, and he is only qualified for home care that is provided during specific hours of the day. And according to the Swedish health care system, he cannot be given a personal assistant because he is older than 65.

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Salming Needs to Rely on His Wife and Kids Every Day to Help Him Get the Right Care.

borje salming illness

“We, as a family, are utterly worn out. He’s only getting worse, and we’ve tried pretty much everything,” Pia added.

16 of Salming’s 17 NHL seasons were spent in Toronto. The 6-foot-1 blueliner played 1,148 games in his career, notching 150 goals, 637 assists, and three All-Star selections.

Salming recently traveled to Canada with Pia and their daughter Teresa to meet an ALS specialist, who gave them a prescription for a drug that may help halt the disease’s course and lengthen Salming’s life.

The parcel carrying the drug, known as albariza, was detained at the Swedish border and ultimately sent back to Canada because the drug is not approved in Sweden and is not permitted to enter the country.

Since July, Teresa said, “we have been pushing the envelope in our own studies day in and day out.” “We’re finished now.

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The best defensive player in Toronto Maple Leaf’s history, Börje Salming, has lost his ability to speak due to Lou Gehrig’s illness, often known as ALS.

In August, Salming made public his diagnosis with ALS, stating that “in one second, everything changed.”