Mike Ulmer has worked for seven news organizations including the National Post and, most recently, the Toronto Sun. Mike has written about the Leafs for 10 years and wrote Captains, a book about the club’s greatest leaders.
It turns out those stripes on the Leafs sweater and that silver trim was awfully heavy.
Several Leafs unveiled the team’s new-look uniforms at Gate 1 at Air Canada Centre during a grand unveiling that included the announcement that Leafs TV would air all eight pre-season games and 20 regular season games this season.
All 20 regular season games will be in high definition which might be handy with the uniform changes so uniformally understated.
Visualize last season’s uniform. Now knock off the horizontal stripes on the bottom of the jersey, the shoulder patches and the silver trim on the numbers. While you’re at it, add one more point to the standings and enjoy the playoffs.
The wool hockey sweater, ordered from the Eatons’ catalogue, the sweater that ended up on Roch Carrier’s heaving shoulders has gone the way of the rumble seat.
Still, you need to look closely to see the changes.
“The blue and white with the simple Maple Leaf logo represents our team’s rich heritage and tradition,” said Leafs’ GM John Ferguson. “It was important to our organization and especially our fans to maintain the look and feel of the blue and white Maple Leaf sweater, which is distinct clean, classic and strong.”
What we have here is undoubtedly technological progress. The sweaters wick away the sweat better. Some parts are toughened up, the lower sleeve for example. The Rbk EDGE Uniform System, don’t you know, paired with fashion with performance, if you link the word performance with a hockey sweater.
Turns out you really can.
“The old jerseys were really baggy around the wrist and sometimes the jersey would slip into your glove,” said Marlie Jaime Sifers, on hand to showcase the Dukes new duds. You were always having to adjust your jersey under your elbow pad, but now things kind of stay where they are supposed to be.”
The jersey and socks weigh about the weight of a puck less than last year’s gear and the jersey lasts twice as long.
Still the surest way to tongue tie a hockey player is to turn him into a mannequin.
Tomas Kaberle looked like he would rather face the forecheck of the Ottawa Senators with his cheekbone planted against the glass. Lovely kid, Tom Kaberle, but not chatty. I show up amongst the horde of people taking his picture and he wants to talk to me about my summer. Anything but pose.
Jason Blake played along nicely enough but you wondered if he was only now getting some of the duties that come with earning big bucks as a Leaf. Darcy Tucker shrugged and said he liked the jerseys just fine but you know he was looking for someone to knock over, just to break things in.
It turns out we are living in a brave new world. Lighter, with fewer stripes and no silver.