Toronto Maple Leafs Team History

Hockey in Toronto has a long history and it starts in 1906 with the “Toronto Professional Hockey Club.” The clubs full seasons were in 1908 and 1909 in the Ontario Professional Hockey League (OPHL).

As part of the National Hockey Association, there would be a hand full of teams that played in Toronto prior to the National Hockey League being formed
• The Tecumsehs 1912-13
• The Ontarios 1913-14
• The Shamrocks 1914-15
• The 228th Battalion 1916-17
• The Blue Shirts (1912-1917).
Blue Shirts ownership ended up creating problems for the other teams in NHA and in 1917 those teams left the NHA to form the NHL.

In 1917, Toronto was given a team to help stabilize the NHL but lacked an official name. The new team would use the same jerseys as the Toronto Blue Shirts and use the same blue and white colours. A single large letter “T” would be on the front with the players’ numbers on the back. The Toronto team would go on to win the first Stanley Cup in the NHL by beating the Vancouver Millionaires of the Pacific Coast Hockey League.

In 1918-19, the team would become know as the Arenas. The jersey would add the “ARENAS” to the front in small letters though the original letter “T”

As a result of financial and legal problems from the NHA, the Arenas were forced to be put up for sale. In 1919-22, with new ownership from the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), the team was reformed into the Toronto St. Patricks. The new name would hope to attract the growing Irish population in Toronto. With the new name the team would change colours to green and white. The Jersey would now say the words Toronto over top of St Pats on the front. In 1922, Toronto would win the Stanley Cup again beating Vancouver

From 1922 to 1925 the jersey would become white with green striping. The team used a solid green sweater in 1919-20 and during the 1925-26 seasons. The latter season had a different waist stripe pattern. For the 1926-27 season; the team added a stripe pattern across the chest and collar.

The year of 1927 was a very significant year for Toronto hockey history. Still facing legal problems for the NHL’s formation and succession from the NHA, the Toronto team would go up for sale again.

Despite being out bid by a Philadelphia group, Conn Smythe was able to win the ownership bid of the St. Patrticks. Conn Smythe’s focus on civic and national pride stated as a reason to have the team remain with Toronto ownership. Mid-season, Conn Smythe would exhibit his pride and change the team’s name to Maple Leafs, a team logo would also change to a Maple Leaf. The logo would include the words Toronto Maple Leafs written inside. The patch and numbers would remain green but it would be on a blank white jersey.

At the beginning of the next season in 1927 the colours would change back to what the “Leafs Nation” would recognize - Blue and White. There are several theories as to why blue and white were chosen but they have been the colours for Toronto sports teams as far back as the Argonauts in 1873.

The 1927-28 season was also first year they had two jerseys – one light and one dark. The light sweater was the same as the previous year’s sweater except for the new colours. The dark sweater was blue with stripes all over the sleeves and lower torso. The dark sweater’s front patch had an inversed colour, the maple leaf being white and lettering being blue. The back numbers for both sweaters would were made larger and thicker.

From 1930 to 1934 the team used white outlined numbers on the back of the dark sweater. These would be the sweaters worn when the team debuted at Maple Leaf Gardens. As the Leafs, in 1932, the team would win its first Stanley cup.

In 1934, changes where made to both light and dark uniforms. The light jersey added solid blue stripes above and below the crest as well as on the sleeves. The dark jerseys became almost all blue except for two stripes on the sleeves and on the lower torso. The most important change is the new Maple Leaf crest. The new crest was larger and more detailed.

In 1938, a patch that was similar to the one introduced in 1934 would be used on both the light and dark sweater. This design would be used for the next 29 years, going through only minor changes every few years. The changed are listed below;
• 1945 – Only for the next three years the writing on the crest of the dark sweater would be red.
• 1958 – The look of the jersey would stay the same but functionally was updated. Adding a shoulder yoke and neck tie-down. The yoke would be blue for both the light and dark jersey.
• 1962 – Numbers are added to the sleeves.
• 1963 – An outline around the front patch is added to both the light and dark jerseys.

Over the next 20 years the Leafs would win the majority of their Stanley Cups (1942, 1945, 1947-49, 1951, 1962-64) wearing this jersey style. The Stanley cup wins include;
• The first down 3-0 series come from behind in sports.
• The first team to win it three times in a row.
• The future hall of fame teams from 1962-64.

In 1967, the team changed and updated the Maple Leaf logo to match the one on the Canadian Flag. A minor change was also made to the striping pattern.

 

In 1970, the Logo was changed again to the shape that it still holds today. The striping pattern would also change to a single band across the torso and a bar running along the top of the sleeves and across the top of the shoulders. In 1972-73, 75-77, the team used V-neck. In 1977, the league made player names mandatory, so the Leafs added players last names to the back of the jerseys.

In 1992, the Leafs would introduce a new jersey styled after the sweaters worn in 1938. The jersey would maintain the current front crest. Added would be shoulder patches similar to the shape of the front crest from 1938.

In 1999, the Leafs wore a throwback jersey to 1938 when they played the last game at Maple Leaf Gardens. The same jersey would become the alternate jersey until 2007.

In 2000, the first full season at the Air Canada Center, the team introduced a new shoulder patch, with the letters “TML” for the team’s initials. The team would also adjust the number and letter font styles.

In 2007, with Reebok’s introduction of the new Edge uniform, the team decided to simplify the uniform look. The new look has only the sleeve numbers and stripes in addition to the standard front crest and back name and number. The dark and light jerseys are either a solid blue or white.

                                       

In 2008, the team reintroduced the alternate jersey that was used from 1999 to 2007. The differences being related to the Edge jersey not the uniform styling.