As part of their ongoing centennial season celebrations the Toronto Maple Leafs this morning unveiled a throwback uniform to the days before they took on the “Maple Leafs” name.
Next month on March 18th vs the Chicago Blackhawks the Leafs will wear the green-and-white uniforms of their predecessors, the Toronto St. Patricks. The “St. Pats” as they were commonly referred, played from 1919-20 until part-way through the 1926-27 season when they changed their name to the one we’re all familiar with today.
“The Toronto Maple Leafs have a long and storied history and the St. Pats are a very important part of that history,” Brendan Shanahan, the Leafs’ President and Alternate Governor said in the press release. “It will be a special moment for both our team and our fans as we recognize this memorable era in Maple Leafs and Toronto hockey history.”
The throwback selected to be worn next month is based off the St. Pats jersey style originally worn between 1922 and 1925, take a look, compared with the jersey unveiled today:
The stripe across the chest will extend all the way around to the back creating the classic issue with number visibility in this situation. The Leafs have tried to combat this by placing the numbers onto a white rectangle before they are attached to the jersey. The number font heavily inspired by the font used on the original St. Pats logo. Take a look:
Using this information we mocked up how Auston Matthews’ jersey should look out on the ice on March 18th:
The Toronto St. Pats, while only existing for less than a decade, do play an important part in the history of the Toronto Maple Leafs franchise. They won a Stanley Cup in 1922, a victory for which they are still recognized today via a banner hanging at the Air Canada Centre, and had numerous legends and future Hockey Hall of Famers such as Ace Bailey, Jack Adams, and Hap Day lace ’em up while wearing a St Pats sweater.
The St. Pats played their final game mid-season on February 15, 1927 against the Detroit Cougars during the future Red Wings’ brief time playing in Windsor, Ontario. The team was sold, re-named the Toronto Maple Leafs and played their first game as the Leafs on February 17th in a win at home against the New York Americans. The new moniker seemed to help the team who were 8-19-4 and dead last in the NHL at the time of the name change, they went 7-5-1 the rest of the way.
Toronto has previously honoured the St. Pats by way of a throwback jersey, but only once…
On March 2, 2002 the Leafs wore green St Pats uniforms against the Buffalo Sabres. The green tops were paired with brown helmets, gloves, and pants – to mimic the style actually worn in the 1920s (well, the pants and gloves anyways). The 2017 edition will see gloves, pants in green, and the helmet in white designed more to match a modern uniform.
Personally I think it’s great to see the Leafs reach back to their green-and-white days once again. While the original St Pats uniforms may not have been the most exciting designs (it was 1920, afterall), it’s a real treat just seeing that colour scheme now paired with the more eye-pleasing and better matching green pants and gloves. I’m still curious to see how well that number style looks in action.