(MARCH 22, 2005)
-- The Toronto Maple Leafs announced Tuesday that its American Hockey League (AHL) franchise will be named the Toronto Marlies when the team relocates to Toronto at the start of the 2005-06 season. During the announcement ceremony held at Air Canada Centre, the organization also unveiled the team's new home and away logos.
Last summer the Leafs announced they would relocate their AHL franchise from St. John's, Newfoundland, where it has played for the past 14 seasons. The lack of any proximate rivals on Canada's east coast resulted in more travel, presenting challenges to the player development program put in place by John Ferguson when he took over as Leafs general manager in August of 2003.
| The new logo combines a little of the old and new. |
Marlies was chosen as the new team name because of its strong appeal to hockey fans and its relationship to player development. In October, the Leafs held a "name the team contest" to engage their fans and gain a starting point in determining a name for Toronto's newest franchise. The contest garnered more than 6,000 entries with Marlies falling in the top three of suggested team names.
"Marlies is the perfect name for our AHL franchise," said Ferguson. "The name has a strong historic connection to the Leafs. It was the name of the Leafs' original farm team and has a 78-year history. Many hockey fans expressed a strong desire that the new team be associated with Leafs history and pride."
The former Marlies logo was redesigned, reflecting a contemporary look while recognizing tradition and history. The logo has a shield with a contemporary maple leaf and two crossed hockey sticks along with a team name banner that sits on top of a vintage maple leaf. The logo maintains the Leafs' blue and white colours, with a lighter blue outlining the vintage maple leaf as a distinctive mark differentiating the AHL team from its NHL parent club.
The original Marlies logo, which has a contemporary maple leaf with a royal crown, will be used as a secondary mark on the shoulders of both home and away jerseys.
A nickname for Marlborough, the Marlies were originally named in honour of England's Duke of Marlborough. In 1927, Conn Smythe purchased the Marlies as a farm team for the Leafs. Throughout the team's history, 98 Marlies players have become Leafs including Ron Ellis and Hall of Famers Red Horner and George Armstrong.
The Toronto Marlies will debut at Ricoh Coliseum this fall. Season tickets are presently on sale for the 2005-06 season. For more information, please call (416) 597-PUCK (7825)