Tomas Sandström reveals the mocking word he said to Wayne Gretzky – but never dared to say to Börje Salming

Tomas Sandström is a true hockey hero from the past.
And he was a real joke on the ice during the NHL era.
But there is one word that the Swede only dared to say to Wayne Gretzky and not to Börje Salming.

The legend scores an impressive 857 points in 983 games in the NHL Tomas Sandström to one of our foremost Swedes in North America ever. On the merit list we also find World Cup gold in 1987 and a Stanley Cup victory with the Detroit Red Wings in 1997.

Sandström’s career

Sandström made his debut in the NHL back in 1984 and stayed for another 15 seasons playing in the New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings and Anaheim Ducks before he returned home to Swedish hockey again.

The article continues after the picture.

990809 Tomas Sandström, Malmö IF © Bildbyrån – 60173

Meanwhile in North America, Sandström angered quite a few opponents on the ice, one of whom was himself Wayne Gretzky. That’s why it was so stiff when the Swede was suddenly traded to the icon’s team Kings and had the honor of sharing a chain with “The Great One”.
– The first match with Los Angeles we were supposed to play in Vancouver. Before we got there, both me and Tony (Granato, teammate) knew that we would both play in the same chain as Wayne Gretzky – the same Gretzky that both me and Tony called “old man” when we met. How would he react when we would now play together? It started really badly as we were both late and entered the ice after the rest of the team had warmed up for a while. Then Gretzky comes up to both of us and says, “Guys, I know it can be nerve-racking to play with me. Just play your game and I’ll adapt to you instead”. And he did, said Sandström in an old interview with Hockey Sweden.

Gretzky & Salming

In a new interview, Tomas Sandström admits what it was really like to play with the world’s best hockey player of all time, despite the frosty start.
– I thought, what the hell is he going to think about having me on the team. We had to play together from the first game. He is a great player and a very good person. We had a lot of fun together. Playing with him was fantastic, he tells Expressen.

The article continues after the picture.

910912 Ice hockey, Semifinal, Canada Cup, Sweden – Canada, 0-4: Börje Salming pushes Wayne Gretzky. Bildbyrån – 15367

Sandström scored an incredible 45 goals in the first season alongside Gretzky, just five goals away Håkan Loobs hard-to-beat goalscoring record of 50 even.
– I missed twelve games that season. If I hadn’t done that, I would have scored 50 goals myself. I am absolutely sure of that. I played in the same chain as Wayne Gretzky!, says the Swedish hockey legend in the interview.

READ MORE: Peter Forsberg’s crazy NHL record that he had no idea about – and will never be broken: “It’s comical”

He had had the courage to call Wayne Gretzky “you bastard” but there was an opponent to whom Sandström did not dare to say that word at all. Namely the dreaded one Börje Salming.
– No, I didn’t call Börje an old man, I didn’t dare. He was tough. And then he was kind and a great guy, I remember a trip with Tre Kronor, when he got on the bus with a Buster comic rolled up in his back pocket. From the beginning, people thought, here comes the big star, but he was so humble and kind to everyone and spread a good atmosphere in his team, Tomas tells the evening newspaper.

What do you remember best from Tomas Sandström’s hockey career? Share the article and have your say!

Thanks for subscribing!

Something went wrong. Please try again later.

Sign up for our newsletter