— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) July 7, 2016
The 2016-17 season will be the 100th ever for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the team has announced a number of ways to recognize and celebrate that feat over the course of the upcoming season.
The announcement was made by Leafs President Brendan Shanahan at the Hockey Hall of Fame this morning, and included the unveiling of a special logo (above) as well as a Centennial Anniversary exhibit.
“The Maple Leafs Centennial Anniversary comes at a very special time in the team’s history,” said Shanahan. “It allows us to look back and celebrate the great players, accomplishments and special memories of one of the most important franchises in hockey, but at the same time, look ahead to the next 100 years and the start of an exciting new chapter in team history.”
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) July 7, 2016
In addition to the logo and exhibit, the team announced a number of special events planned throughout next season, including:
- New banners in the Air Canada Centre for the players who have had their numbers honoured. The old banners will be sent to the hometowns that produced those players.
- Three pre-season games played in non-NHL cities (Halifax, St. Catherines, and Hamilton) to allow fans in those cities a chance to see the team live.
- In October, the team will officially add the latest players to Legends Row. The statues for Dave Keon, Tim Horton and Turk Broda will be publicly unveiled alongside the other Leaf greats, including Ted Kennedy, Darryl Sittler, Johnny Bower, Borje Salming, George Armstrong, Syl Apps and Mats Sundin.
- A selected committee will determine a list of the 100 greatest players in Maple Leafs history. The One Hundred, along with many more Leafs, will be honoured throughout the Centennial season.
- On January 1st, the team will host the Detroit Red Wings in the Centennial Classic, an outdoor game that will take place at BMO Field to honour the 100th season of both the Leafs and the NHL.
- There will also be an alumni game between the past great players for the Maple Leafs and the Red Wings. The game (date and time to be announced) will see the Leafs alumni team wear special uniforms featuring the team’s Centennial Anniversary logo.
- Also during the Centennial Classic week, the team will host a number of activities to celebrate the anniversary, and the game of hockey, including a New Year’s Eve party and public skates on the ice surface at BMO Field.
- In addition to the new jerseys the Leafs will wear next season, the team will pay tribute to its heritage by wearing Toronto St. Pats uniforms when they host the Chicago Blackhawks on March 18, 2017. The franchise was called the St. Pats from 1919-1927 until Conn Smythe re-named them the Maple Leafs.
These are just the events that were announced at the HHOF this morning. Others in the hockey community have already begun speculating on other possible team events that could take place next season.
Leaf alumni prez Peter Ing says a few Centennial events are in the works to reunite as many living Leafs as possible of 950 plus who played.
— Lance Hornby (@sunhornby) July 7, 2016
“We’re excited to share some of the initiatives that will make up the Maple Leafs Centennial anniversary,” Shanahan said. “But there will also be many surprises throughout the season that our fans can look forward to, including a historic opening night celebration. We look forward to sharing this special year with our fans.”