TORONTO – The Toronto Maple Leafs will have a slightly different look next season.
The NHL team unveiled its new home and road sweaters Monday at a news conference to introduce Dion Phaneuf as team captain.
The two stripes on the arm and the 11-point Leafs’ front crest remain unchanged but the team has brought back the two horizontal stripes around the waist. The veined Leaf logo with no interior lettering will return on the sweater as a shoulder patch as it did from 1992 to 2000.
In addition, a string lace collar will replace the V-shaped collar. The lettering and numbers of the sweaters will also be single layered again, without an outside trim.
“Our fans were pretty adamant that they missed the waist stripes, they missed the shoulder patch and so we worked with the league to bring it back,” said Tom Anselmi, the chief operating officer of Maple Leaf Sports&Entertainment.
The Maple Leafs will debut the uniform in their pre-season opener Sept. 21 against the visiting Ottawa Senators.
“I like the look, I think it really respects our tradition, said Leafs GM Brian Burke. “I think it’s sharp looking and I can’t wait to see the guys come on the ice with them.”
It’s the first modification to the uniform in three years. The team’s nostalgic white third sweater that debuted in 1998-99 will remain the same.
“We have to be respectful of the brand, we have to be respectful of the logo,” Burke said. “You’re not going to see us wearing crazy third sweaters or anything like a lot of teams do. This is one of the most recognizable logos on the planet, in the history of professional sports.
“We want to be respectful of that and we think this sweater does that.”
The unveiling was made at the team’s first news conference at the Real Sports Bar&Grill at Maple Leaf Square, beside the Air Canada Centre. The new jersey had a retail price of $189 at a sports apparel store inside the complex.