"It was exactly 84 years ago Wednesday that Toronto played its first NHL hockey game. On December 19, 1917 Toronto lost 10-9 to the Montreal Wanderers. On the upside, the team turned it around by season's end winning the 1918 Stanley Cup after defeating teams such as the Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Millionaires.
In those early days, Toronto's NHL hockey team went through a number of incarnations -- the last one being the Toronto St. Patricks -- before settling into what would become one of the world's most recognized names in sports: the Toronto Maple Leafs. The 2001-02 season marks the club's 75th anniversary -- the last of the Original Six hockey teams to reach this milestone.
The historic St. Pat's Sweater...
The Toronto St. Patricks became the Toronto Maple Leafs on February 14, 1927. In the first season as the Maple Leafs, the team uniform remained St. Pat's green. In those days, the sweater was hand-knit and made of wool. Making each sweater look exactly the same was a challenge back then.
December 19, 2001 -- the Leafs celebrate their history...
Today the Maple Leaf Hockey Club issues a commemorative, limited edition St. Pats hockey sweater, made by CCM. There are only 1,927 St. Pats hockey sweaters available, each with a numbered patch sewn in.
On March 2, 2002 the Toronto Maple Leafs will mark the team's 75th anniversary by wearing the St. Pats uniform as they face off against Buffalo on a commemorative night that will include festivities and celebrations.
"It's a real departure for the Leafs to stray from the blue and white," said Tom Anselmi, senior vice president of business, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd. "But on this special occasion, the team will salute their predecessors by wearing the St.Pats uniform."
HOW TO GET A ST. PATS SWEATER: Available exclusively at Air Canada Centre's Centresports or by mail order through 1-888-764-4444