Dear Börje,

So tragic. So sad. Such incredible strength you showed in the end.

I feel deeply saddened and touched. At the same time warm and happy to have been your friend. A few years too young myself to follow you during your Maple Leafs glory years but I can honestly say you are my idol off the ice and that says a lot considering your career achievements.

Life is an immense joy, like last Monday when my wife Alejandrina gave birth to our third son. Life is also great sadness like when I first found out about your illness and yesterday when I got the news that it took your life.

My father wrote to me yesterday that he will never forget the moment in 1976 when he, together with his brother and father, stayed up at night in Vikarbyn, Sweden, and via a grainy television image sees the enormous tributes you get from the Canadian audience.

Personally, I will remember how with warmth and genuine interest you always took time for people, regardless of who they were. You always had a few kind words for those who came up for a photo together or an autograph, not infrequently with a personal greeting from you.

"To x, get after it!" / Börje Salming #21
"To y, hugs and kisses" / Börje

Two greetings that reflect your honest, direct and warm approach where no obstacle was too high. If you got knocked down, you didn't get up at nine. You got up right away, over and over again.

"Be proud of the brand, proud of the company," you always told me. Believe me, I always will be. Proud to have gotten to know you. Proud of the respect you have shown me and every employee. You are and always will be immensely loved by us. By both old and new colleagues.

I'll never forget that night a little over a year ago at Pelikan (Restaurant in Stockholm, Sweden), where, over pork leg with root mash and a couple of sixes OP Andersson, we discussed 70’s power play strategies and the slightly mythical Red Eye plane that went from Vegas directly to the early practice in connection with your away games in Los Angeles. Your enormous passion for hockey and for the team was unmistakable.

Our son was born on the 21st of November. A special number thanks to a very special person. Rest in peace Börje. Heaven is a legend richer.

//Your friend Joakim and the whole crew at Salming HQ

Joakim Sandin
CEO Salming Sports AB