A Swede day on Legends Row

The first two Swedes to be elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame both had storied careers in a Leafs uniform.

On Saturday in Toronto they were both immortalized in bronze.

Six-time All-Star Borje Salming along with the franchise’s all-time scoring leader Mats Sundin became the latest members of Legends Row, the exhibit outside Air Canada Centre that commemorates the greatest players in Leafs history.

The ceremony was held as part of the ongoing Leafs Nation Fan Fest that concludes Sunday.

“I think my nose is a little crooked there,” quipped Salming of his likeness. “But it looks excellent.” The two-time Norris Trophy finalist compiled 768 points in 1,099 games with Toronto between 1973 and 1989.

The statues Salming and Sundin join those of Darryl Sittler, Ted Kennedy and Johnny Bower on the monument. Late last season, Syl Apps and George Armstrong were also named as honourees. Their sculptures will be unveiled in November.

Salming and Sundin occupy the top two places on the Leafs’ all-time assist leaderboard with 620 and 567 helpers, respectively. Although their NHL playing careers never coincided, the two men were teammates on Sweden’s 1991 Canada Cup entry. Tre Kronor played three of their five tournament games in Toronto before losing to Canada in the semi-finals 4-0 at Maple Leaf Gardens.

“Toronto has been treating me like this from day one until now. I haven’t played hockey for thirty years and they’re still doing these kinds of things,” Salming said. “It’s fantastic.”

Sundin was acquired by the Leafs in 1994 – five years after Salming last played in Toronto – and went on to lead the team in scoring in all but one of thirteen seasons wearing blue and white. The former captain is the franchise’s all-time leader in goals (420) and points (987).

“In 1994 when I became a Maple Leaf, I remember talking to Borje Salming – and also when I got a chance to be the captain of the Maple Leafs, Borje gave me some advice,” Sundin said. “It’s a huge honour to get into Legends Row with him as well.”

Both men were accompanied by their respective families to share in the festivities along with Leafs president Brendan Shanahan, general manager Lou Lamoriello, coach Mike Babcock, and several alumni.

“My daughter is three years old now,” Sundin said. “When she has her own children one day, they’re going to be able to come back and look at the statue. It’s really nothing you can ever dream about, getting recognition like that with a great franchise. I’m very proud.”

(Sundin talks to reporters in front of his new statue)

(Salming’s new statue is unveiled)

Rob Del Mundo is the author of Off The Post, and is a regular columnist at TMLfans.ca

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