The Toronto Maple Leafs paid tribute to one of the greatest players in the history of their franchise, Börje Salming, with the addition of a memorial patch to the shoulder of their jerseys on Friday afternoon.
The patch design shows a silhouette of the blue leaf logo the team used from 1970 through 2016, with a gold crown on the top and BÖRJE written across in gold. The colours were chosen to represent Salming’s home country of Sweden, while the crown represents both the Tre kronor of the Swedish National Team and Salming’s nickname of “The King.”
Salming, who died yesterday at the age of 71, spent 16 seasons patrolling the blueline as a defenceman with the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1973-74 through 1988-89. During his tenure with the club, Salming played 1099 games, scored 148 goals and notched 620 assists for 768 points. Salming was chosen to play in the NHL All-Star Game three times during his time with the club. Salming finished his NHL career with a single season in Detroit in 1990. Toronto retired Salming’s number 21 in 2016.
Salming finished his playing career by making his Winter Olympics début in 1992 with Team Sweden, scoring 4 goals and 7 points as a 40-year-old in Albertville, France.
We’re not sure how long the Leafs will wear the patch on their sweaters [see update below], though if the past is any indication, it will not be for more than a handful of games — typically, the Leafs will only wear a memorial patch for about a week, as we saw previously following the deaths of George Armstrong, Johnny Bower, and Pat Quinn.
UPDATE: The Toronto Maple Leafs will wear the patches for only three games, two on the road and one (with the Reverse Retro sweater) at home. The final game it will appear in will be played on November 30, 2022.