The Toronto Maple Leafs will be going all-white as they go all-Navy for the 2018 Stadium Series.
Unveiled this morning, the special uniforms the Leafs will be wearing for the outdoor game next month are white from head-to-toe with small hints of blue trim throughout.
The helmet, crest, gloves, and yes – even the pants are white, creating a relatively unique look for an NHL hockey team.
The uniforms pay homage to the Royal Canadian Navy, the overall concept of an all-white uniform with blue trim is a direct nod to the Canadian Naval Ensign, which is a blue crest on a field of white with blue trim. On the inside collar the Leafs have removed their usual team motto of Honour. Pride. Courage, replacing it with the official motto of the Canadian Navy: Ready, Aye, Ready.
Across the chest we see two blue horizontal stripes with a large field of white in between. These stripes only go across the front of the jersey, the back is simply white. On each sleeve these two blue stripes are repeated with the team motto, typically found on their inside collar, now featured as a tonal deboss on the top blue stripe of the left arm.
Player numbers are standard Leafs blue and placed directly on each shoulder, the 2018 Stadium Series logo appearing in between the two blue sleeve stripes on the right arm. Player name and number on the back are plain blue, and as we mentioned earlier the back is white with no stripes.
Overall the uniforms feel like a road white to pair with the Centennial Classic design the Leafs wore last season for the outdoor game at Toronto’s BMO Field. For that game the Leafs wore blue with a white and silver horizontal stripe across the chest, a white Maple Leaf logo with silver accents placed on that white chest stripe.
The Navy is the overall theme of this year’s edition of the Stadium Series with the game being held at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland; Toronto’s opponent for the game, the Washington Capitals, will also be wearing Naval inspired elements on their already unveiled blue uniforms.
“The Maple Leafs have had a very long and proud association with our Armed Forces throughout the years and this special game is an important opportunity for us to not only pay tribute to the Royal Canadian Navy, but to also say thank you to the many men and women who serve our country so bravely,” said Brendan Shanahan, President and Alternate Governor of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the press release.
“This unique uniform, to mark a unique occasion, celebrates the traditions of both the Royal Canadian Navy and the Toronto Maple Leafs and it will be a great honour for our players to wear this sweater next month.”
It’s the first time the Toronto Maple Leafs will be wearing white for an outdoor game (first time they’ll be playing anyone other than Detroit, too). The team previously wore blue throwbacks to the 1930s for their appearance at the 2014 Winter Classic in Ann Arbor, Michigan. They then wore the blue and silver uniforms when the two teams met up again, this time on the other side of the border in Toronto in January 2017.
White pants will be what many will surely focus on with this design, afterall it isn’t something we’ve seen too often in NHL history. It was quite common however during the league’s first few seasons in the 1910s and 20s including being worn for several years by the Leafs while they were still known as the Toronto St. Pats.
By the 1930s throughout the league pants were coloured to match better with each team’s sweaters and socks. We didn’t see white pants in the NHL again until the 1974 Washington Capitals (Toronto’s opponent for this game) who briefly wore white pants with their road red set during their inaugural season.
The Los Angeles Kings brought back the white pants for a Stadium Series game against the San Jose Sharks in 2015 and then just two weeks ago Team Pacific wore them to victory during the 2018 All-Star Game in Tampa.
Overall the Maple Leafs 2018 Stadium Series jersey itself is a very clean design. It pays appropriate respects to an arm of the military and avoids any use of camouflage, which is the right way to do it in my opinion.
I’d have been curious to see how it would look with their usual blue pants but I get what they were doing with the field of white and only slight hints of blue trim throughout.
Here’s a side-by-side with Washington to show your uniform matchup for the game:
The Maple Leafs will take on the Capitals at the United States Naval Academy with the two clubs wearing the above uniforms on Saturday, March 3rd.