passed away today at the age of 80.
Tumba was a 3 sport star in Sweden, excelling at hockey, football (soccer) and golf. Here's more on the GreatestHockeyLegends.com biography of Tumba Johansson..
Almost NHL's First European Player
Tumba became the first European trained player to attend an NHL camp when he went to Boston Bruins training camp in 1957. He was offered a tryout with the minor league team Quebec Aces. He played five games for the Aces and collected four assists.
Tumba however didn't sign a professional contract. Some say it was because back then it would have meant that he would have lost his amateur status. Since he wanted to represent Sweden further on the international stage he turned it down and returned to Sweden and Djurgården.
Brian McFarlane proposes a different scenario in his Original Six book series The Bruins. He quotes Johansson suggesting the reason he did not catch on in Boston was because of a practical joke he played on his unsuspecting teammates.
"I don't think the Bruins accepted me and I'm sure it was because of a practical joke I played on them one day. I saw that they all joked around with each other in the dressing room and I liked that. I wanted very much to be a part of it. I noticed they all put their false teeth in little cups before a game or practice When they went on the ice I sneaked back into the room and switched all the teeth around. Did they laugh at my little prank? No, were they ever mad. From then on it was very cool between us. A few days later the manager took me aside and told me he was sending me back to Sweden.
GreatestHockeyLegends.com biography of Tumba Johansson.
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