Borje Salming’s battle with ALS strikes a chord with Daniel Alfredsson

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TORONTO — The center ice ceremony at Scotiabank Arena honoring Borje Salming was emotional and heartbreaking.

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It’s only been a few months since the legendary former Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman and Hockey Hall of Fame inductee let the hockey world know he had Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), but there he was. at center ice with former captain Daryl Sittler on Friday night, overcome with emotion.

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Salming is one of only four Swedish players inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, but he will be joined by twin brothers Daniel and Henrik Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks and former Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson at the an induction ceremony on Monday evening.

“I’m heartbroken for him, to see what he’s going through,” Alfredsson said. “I haven’t spoken to him personally, but just reading the reports of how it’s going so fast you feel for him because he really is a Swedish hockey legend.

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“He was a pioneer for Swedish hockey players. He came and faced a lot of adversity playing in the NHL. The way it behaved and proved itself day after day, it really paved the way for the next generation.

Salming played with the Leafs from 1973 to 1989.

“It hits everyone because he was such an icon and a humble guy too,” Alfredsson said. “He’s fought so much. With the character he has, because he came back from all the injuries with the scars and the stitches he has, he’s almost immortal.

“To see him as he is is heartbreaking and we all feel for him.”

As Borje Salming, left, looks on, Daniel Alfredsson and Hockey Hall of Fame representative Lanny McDonald shake hands during pre-game ceremonies Friday in Toronto. Photo by Bruce Bennett /Getty Images

That’s one of the reasons why it’s so important for Alfredsson and the Sedins to join Salming, Mats Sundin, Peter Forsberg and Nicklas Lidstrom in the Hall of Fame.


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