As they wrap up their centennial celebrations during the 2017-18 season, the Toronto Maple Leafs will pay tribute to the turning point between their first century and the next with a special game. Marking exactly 100 years to the day since their first-ever NHL game — when they were known as the Toronto Arenas — the Leafs will sport replicas of those original jerseys on Dec. 19 when they host the Carolina Hurricanes.
It's gonna be a big day.
In fact, the Next Century Game, as they've dubbed it, is a rare Tuesday afternoon match-up taking place at 2:00. That's a time usually reserved for holiday games — though the city of Toronto will proclaim Dec. 19 to be Toronto Maple Leafs Day, so it's basically a holiday, right?
Of course the most interesting part of today's announcement was that we're finally going to see an Arenas jersey on the ice in Toronto again. I say "again" but I doubt anyone reading this was alive the last time. A photo surfaced last year of an Edge-era Arenas jersey that briefly gave us hope for the Centennial Classic, but unfortunately it was not meant to be.
Take a closer look!
A few of these photos above come from the Instagram account of Maple Leafs designer Anthony Ruggiero. The images reveal the beautiful and unusual stitching details in the crest and numbers.
When the Toronto club joined the new NHL in 1917, it was nicknamed the Arenas — which only lasted for the franchise's first two seasons. The jersey they're replicating here is what they wore during the 1918-19 season. The first jersey was solid blue with a white "T" on the chest and had white cuffs and a white bottom.
As for the game itself, it kind of has a logo. The Leafs have been using this text treatment.
The other logo you see there, which can be read upside down is a clever element of the club's "Stand Witness" marketing campaign for this season. It's meant to symbolize the beginning of a new century of Leafs hockey as its first century comes to an end.
You may also be excited to know this won't be the only game in which the Leafs will don throwback jerseys. Sounds like the St. Pats threads will make a reappearance on St. Patrick's Day, of course.
It seems a Maple Leafs season ticket holder recently uploaded photos of a bunch of tickets to the web. One gave us our first hint at the Next Century Game on Dec. 19. Another indicates St. Pats Night on March 17.
I'm not sure whether they'll wear the Edge-era version of the St. Pats jersey from last season or upgrade to the new Adizero product as they have with the Arenas sweater above. I'll ask around.
Meantime, what do you think of finally seeing the Leafs in a classic Arenas jersey?