Celebrating the Centennial

By: Nick Lanciani

I’ve got a few hours before I have to hop on a plane for Thanksgiving, so I figured I’d write about my thoughts on the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings Centennial Classic jerseys that were unveiled on Monday.

Toronto is hosting Detroit outdoors on January 1, 2017, so I’ll talk about their jersey first.

Overall, nice job Toronto. You pulled off another successful look outdoors while paying homage to your franchise’s history (note the stylized “T” on the pants, reminiscent of their days as the Toronto Arenas).

A lot of sports writers take issue with the white logo on the white stripe, which, granted isn’t perfect, fits you well as a fresh take on an age-old jersey style that dates back to the days of actual sweaters (the striping pattern, not the white-on-white logo). Way back in the day, the Toronto St. Pats had a look similar to this design, except their colors were green and white, instead of blue and white.

Look up the early history of the Toronto Maple Leafs, it’s a convoluted oasis of trying to figure out a brand identity, almost being bought and moved to Philadelphia, as well as finally figuring it out and settling on the Maple Leafs moniker in 1927 and sticking to it.

This jersey is an excellent representation of the early days of Toronto’s franchise if you really look into it. The only thing I take exception to are the socks. They just seem kind of bland for a team that usually has extravagant striping patterns on their socks.

All I’m saying is give these jerseys a chance. Especially compared to Detroit’s look for the Centennial Classic. Let me put it this way, Toronto, I hope you win on January 1st. Detroit, I hope you lose every last outdoor game you ever play in.

Here’s my analysis:

GIF via Ride the Pine

Hopefully you can’t read lips.

But seriously Detroit, what the h-e-double hockey sticks.

I don’t mind you trying to honor your franchise’s 11 Stanley Cups, but that silver stripe just isn’t cutting it for me, especially when the rest of your jersey lacks more pizazz than a candy cane.

There’s virtually nothing that ties this jersey to the sweaters from the days of yore when the Red Wings were the Detroit Cougars or the Detroit Falcons. Whereas Toronto focused on emphasizing elements of their past, Detroit seems focused on showing off where the future looks of the sport might go (and if this is it, I’ll gladly pass, thanks).

I’m a fan of the cut of this jersey. Ever since the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens brought back a more sweater-like design to the modern jersey aesthetic and materials, I’m very much a fan of going old style for an outdoor game. It’s a once in a lifetime experience (despite however many outdoor games a year your team is in— I’m looking at you, Chicago) for the players and the fans, so every team should have the green light to this design of a jersey for such a special event.

Having said that, you’ve got to pull it off right. And frankly Detroit, you missed the net. You Patrik Stefan-ed it.

The Red Wings had good outdoor jerseys for the 2009 and 2014 Winter Classics, but since then, their outdoor gear hasn’t lived up to the status of such a legendary organization that prides itself on tradition and doing next to nothing to change the look of their jerseys (they’ve used the same styling at home and on the road since the 2007 Reebok Edge design).

In conclusion, I’m still probably going to watch this game, because I’m a sucker for outdoor hockey and honoring the heritage of the world’s greatest sport.

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