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Sami Salo to be inducted to the Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame

After a professional career that spanned 15 seasons in the NHL and saw multiple appearances at the international level, Sami Salo has been inducted into the Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame.

Salo began his career with the Ottawa Senators in 1998, the team who drafted him with the 239th pick in the 1996 NHL entry Draft. He spent four seasons in Ottawa before getting dealt to the Canucks in a one-for-one deal for Peter Schafer. From there, Salo established himself as a very solid defenceman in the NHL, known for his booming point shot and warrior-like style of play.

He was injured a lot, suffering somewhere around 40 injuries in his NHL career, but when Salo was playing, he was a damn good defender. While missing time was a frustrating thing when it came to Salo, him grinding through a broken body is part of what made him such an endearing fan favourite.

One of the most memorable Salo moments came back in the 2010 playoffs, when he was hospitalized after being hit in the, uh, midsection by a slap shot from Duncan Keith. Despite apparently being diagnosed with a ruptured testicle, Salo laced up and played in the next game, and the crowd in Vancouver welcomed him with a “Balls of Steel” chant.

Salo is a beloved player in Vancouver for his play with the Canucks, and now, he’s coaching with TPS in Finland, the team that Olli Juolevi and Petrus Palmu play for.

He finished his NHL career with 339 points over 878 games between Ottawa, Vancouver, and Tampa Bay, putting him sixth in NHL history in points among Finnish defencemen. Salo also won a Silver and Bronze Medal with Finland in the 2006 and 2010 Olympics, respectively.