On February 17, 1927, on a train from Detroit, after a game against the Detroit Cougars, the Toronto St. Pats hockey team became the Toronto Maple Leafs. In that same year, the Toronto Maple Leaf franchise was officially recognized by the NHL. The 2001-02 season marks the club's 75th anniversary -- the last of the Original Six hockey teams to reach this milestone. Celebrations will last throughout the season with a number of exciting initiatives, kicking-off with the design of this year's season tickets.
Following the lead of last year's successful season ticket campaign - the Maple Leafs once again turned to their fans for inspiration. In the spirit of celebrating tradition with a look to the future, fans were asked to share how they are passing on the tradition of the famed hockey club to future generations of their family. The most inspiring 45 stories were adapted to the design of this year's season tickets, and the package in its entirety tells the story of a great hockey team through the words and experiences of its fans. Throughout the season, the Galleria will have a special Fan wall featuring images and stories from the 2000-01 and 2001-02 season ticket packages.
"In celebrating the 75th season, first and foremost we celebrate the fans," says Tom Anselmi, senior vice president business, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd. "The tradition of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey club is just as much about our fans as it is about the team or the game. We're doing all kinds of things to celebrate this historic milestone and to make this season more exciting than ever."
The regular season unofficially kicks off with the Leafs Open Practice when the club unveiled the top 25 all time greatest Leafs - complied by a committee of hockey experts and intended to honour the greatest players who contributed to the team's history. Their stories will be part of a history that's told through video features at every regular season game. On October 3, opening night of the regular season, fans will enter an Air Canada Centre themed to the 75th anniversary. Just about every area, including The Fan Zone, the Galleria, concourses, restaurants and the arena will speak to the anniversary in some way.
The Hot Stove Club celebrates its history with a display of photos and stories of the longest serving staff members and introduces a new uniform with a nostalgic look, while the Platinum Club will garnish desserts with chocolate 75th anniversary logos.
To commemorate the team, in cooperation with the Hockey Hall of Fame a Maple Leafs Timeline exhibit will be displayed in the Galleria and The Fan Zone, the interactive games area adjacent to the Galleria. The Zone will include more activities and 75th anniversary giveaways.
Celebrations of the season will include the Hockey Hall of Fame Legends Game on November 11, featuring Leafs alumni versus Hall of Fame Legends. The March 2 game versus Buffalo has been coined the 75th Anniversary Tribute Night and will feature a special program and special promotions for fans.
Fans will be able to take home a piece of the tradition with 75th anniversary merchandise as well as a limited edition selection of St. Pat's merchandise. The 75th anniversary video will be released in December, and a collectible anniversary card set will be available in November.
Every regional broadcast of Leafs Games on TSN and the New VR will include features that celebrate the players and the fans that make this the fabled franchise that it is. Complete coverage of the Maple Leafs 75th anniversary season will be featured on Leafs TV and regular updates will be available on mapleleafs.com.