“Honour. Pride. Courage.”
These are the immortal words of Conn Smythe, owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1927 through 1961, the words he used when describing why he changed the name of the Toronto St. Pats to the Maple Leafs shortly after he took ownership near the end of the 1926-27 season, “Honour. Pride. Courage … The way (this badge) was worn by Canadian soldiers in the Great War.”
Those words play a big part in the design of the new Toronto Maple Leafs uniforms, unveiled tonight in Buffalo, NY as the team placed the new jersey over the head of their number one overall draft choice Auston Matthews, considered by almost everyone to be the future leader of the franchise. It’s while they introduced their future to the world that the team celebrated their past, it’s their 100th season as a franchise in the upcoming year and as you’d expect the uniforms take a journey through history.
“Much like the new Toronto Maple Leaf logo that pays tribute to the club’s championship legacy but also represents the start of an exciting new chapter in team history, our new uniforms are meant to be classic and timeless,” said Brendan Shanahan, Toronto Maple Leafs President and Alternate Governor in the official media release.
“There is a simplicity in the design so that the focus is always solely on the crest. Conn Smythe spoke of his team wearing the Maple Leaf badge with ‘honour, pride and courage’ and those words are now stitched into the collar of each sweater so that our players, and fans, are reminded of that every time they put it on”, Shanahan continued.
The new uniform pays homage to several different uniforms in team history, the two stripes on each sleeve a nod to those worn with the last few uniform designs dating back to the Doug Gilmour and Mats Sundin days in the early 1990s. The single stripe at the waist like those worn from 1970 through 1992, the one on the pants like those from the 1960s.
A handy graphic below to show you what’s what and why:
You’ll notice in the graphic that the jersey crest has increased in size considerably, to “put focus solely on the crest” as Shanny said earlier, this also explains the lack of shoulder patches. No shoulder patches = the focus is entirely on the crest. Larger crest = focus entirely on the crest.
A comparison of the jersey crest sizes here, shown to scale:
The team told SportsLogos.Net that they conducted closed arena tests with Leafs players to see just how big they could get the crest without it being a hinderance to the performance of the player, 12¼” x 11″ seems to be the magic number.
For those of you who are not quite noticing the changes, looking at the new uniform saying, “I’m pretty sure they just slapped the new logo on the old uniform”, well, you’re not *quite* right.
In addition to the team motto being added to the inside collar, the shoulder patch has been removed, the waist stripes reduced from two to one, a stripe added to the side of the pants, the sock stripes reduced greatly – from nine (depending how you count ’em) to two. Simplified. Clean.
While the club is celebrating their 100th season there will *NOT* be a 100th season patch on the team uniforms (again, “focus is on the crest”). A special 100th season decal will be applied to the Leafs helmet, this 100th season logo is expected to be unveiled sometime in July. We have no details on what to expect with respects to how this logo will look.
We’ll wrap this up with a few more detailed photos of the new uniforms courtesy the team:
No alternate jersey although reports suggest there will be a St. Pats throwback at some point in 2016-17.
The new jerseys will be available to pre-order on August 1st, and available in stores in September.
UPDATE: Here’s a photo of Auston Matthews wearing the new uniform at the draft (photo via NHL)
And something we put together to give you a look at the player name/number style: