July 13, 2012
The Odd Story of Borje Salming's Home Town
This is Borje Salming, arguably the greatest hockey player ever to come out of Sweden.
The Hockey Hall of Fame defenseman comes from the Arctic mining town of Kiruna. Ninety miles north of the Arctic Circle, Kiruna sits upon the largest deposit of iron ore in the world. It is a blue collar town, and with iron ore prices quadrupling since 2005, you could say it is a town on the move.
Literally. And therein lies the problem.
If you have never heard of Kiruna before, worry not. You will likely be hearing lots of it in the future. The entire town of 20,000 people is being moved from it's current site. Over a century of mining activity has caused cracks to form in the bedrock that the town currently sits on. That leaves industry and government and residents with a tough choice - either shut down the mine (the towns major employer) or move the whole town.
They have chosen to keep the jobs and move the town. New homes and buildings will be created, while historic buildings such as the town's iconic wooden church will be disassembled and rebuilt. It is a pretty amazing undertaking.
Salming may have left Kiruna a long time ago, but he is still proud to call it his home town.
" People up there are, how shall I say, a little more humble in any way. For my own part, I think it's good to be northerner."
Borje Salming lives in Stockholm nowadays, but he is thankful he grew up in Kiruna. Apparently his mother remains there so he visits her regularly.
They say you can take the boy out of his home town but you can't take the home town out of the boy. It is so true. But in Kiruna they are moving the entire home town just a little bit closer to Borje Salming.