“We’ve Been Like Brothers”

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Inge Hammarström was one of the first Swedes to get a chance in the NHL.
Together with Börje Salming, he played in the Toronto Maple Leafs – and now he remembers the time together with Salming in Canada.
– We have been like brothers, says Hammarström to Dagens Nyheter.

Inge Hammarström and Börje Salming are two pioneers in Swedish ice hockey. In the 1973-1974 season, they both debuted in the NHL and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Hammarström remembers his friend – a friendship that stretches back nearly 50 years – as a very inspiring person.

“Have been like brothers”

In an interview with the newspaper Dagens Nyheter, Inge Hammarström talks about the grief after Börje Salming’s passing.
– It is extremely sad. Shocking, while knowing that it was only a matter of time. We have been almost like brothers. I remember when he came here to Brynäs and we older players both took care of him and were so happy that we had such an incredible talent in our team, he says.

READ MORE: Stenmark opens up about the close friendship with Börje Salming – and about the last meeting: “Knew him half my life”

The article continues after the picture.

221117 Börje Salming shapes his hands into a heart when he receives a standing ovation from the audience and is awarded the NHL Honorary Award during the Hockey Gala of the Times on November 17, 2022 in Stockholm. Photo: Joel Marklund / BILDBYRÅN / code JM / JM0377

Hammarström continues:
– He was an incredible person. Extremely strong-willed and inspiring. I have tears in my eyes when I think about what has happened. It’s hard, but we get to enjoy the memories and the wonderful moments we’ve had together. I feel an awful lot for Pia and the entire Börje family.

Last meeting

READ MORE: Icon and close friend Darryl Sittler’s heartbreaking words about Börje Salming: “He is in my heart forever”

Shortly before Salming and his family traveled to Canada and Toronto, Hammarström greeted him – and it was an emotional meeting between the two, to say the least.
– There were a lot of tears. I was skeptical about whether he would make it through that trip but he is a fighter. He has fought all the way into the tile. He wanted to say goodbye to his fans both in Toronto and here at home. It was fantastic and at the same time very painful, says Inge Hammarström.

190218 Börje Salming poses for a portrait on February 18, 2019 in Stockholm. Photo: Johanna Lundberg / BILDBYRÅN / 135950