Detroit Red Wings icon Nicklas Ldstrom was recently recognized as the greatest Swedish hockey player of all-time. He’s of the belief that the time has come to honor another of Sweden’s hockey legends.
Lidstrom, along with fellow former Red Wings stars Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall, are part of the group of iconic Swedish hockey players who are lobbying Sweden’s Ice Hockey Federation. Their objecitve is getting No. 21 taken out of service for use with the national team. This would be done to recognize the contributions of Hockey Hall of Famer Borje Salming.
THIS DATE IN 2006: @DetroitRedWings’ Nicklas Lidstrom had 1-3—4 to reach 789 career regular-season points and pass Borje Salming (787) for the most in NHL history among Swedish defensemen. 🇸🇪
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 9, 2021
“It would be a wise choice, I think so,” Lidstrom told Swedish media site Expressen.se. “There are many who made a big impression with that number on their back and that number means a lot to many people.”
Salming is currently battling ALS. He and Lidstrom, who played as a defense pairiing for Sweden at the 1991 Canada Cup, were recently named the defensive tandem on Sweden’s all-time team as part of a celebration of the country’s 100th year of hockey.
Salming Paved Way For Red Wings Swedish Invasion
In actuality, Salming originally wore No. 5 when he first was playing with the Swedish national team. He didn’t make No. 21 famous until 1973. That’s when Salming arrived in Toronto to play for the Maple Leafs. The all-star defenseman would go on to become the NHL’s first European-born and trained superstar.
“What Borje did for Swedish ice hockey, how he paved the way for all the rest of us, that was when the Swedish and European invasion began,” Kronwall said. “It would definitely be a good idea to honor that number.”
Zetterberg was also echoing the sentiments of his former Red Wings teammates.
“I think so, it’s quite clear actually,” Zetterberg said. “It should be retired.”
Henrik Lundqvist and Peter Forsberg, another great who wore 21 for Sweden, are also lending their support to this cause.
Salming’s NHL legacy came to a conclusion following a one-season stint with the Red Wings in 1989-90.