The Toronto Maple Leafs are undoubtedly a team with a great deal of history. Celebrating 100 years during the 2016-2017 hockey season, the Toronto Maple Leafs are in many ways like a lot of hockey teams: the team has a diehard fan base, and when the Toronto Maple Leafs are on, everyone loves them. Of course, when they are not doing well, they are ridiculed. However, fans were eagerly anticipating the reveal of the team’s new logo for the 2016-2017 season.
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Regardless of how you feel about hockey, there is little doubt that the Toronto Maple Leafs are a team that has a lot more history than most. As part of the “Original Six” — the teams that initially comprised the National Hockey League for 25 years prior to the 1967 expansion — the Toronto Maple Leafs are busily building “Legends Row,” a sculpture honoring some of the legends both living and dead from the team. The logo that will be featured on next year’s jerseys honors some of that history.
According to CBS Sports writer Adam Gretz, the new logo features 17 veins, in honor of the team’s 1917 beginnings, with 13 veins representing the team’s Stanley Cup wins, and has 31 points, acknowledging the 1931 team that opened the original house of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Maple Leaf Gardens. Former team owner Conn Smythe had wanted a maple leaf as part of the original logo because it was what he and so many others had worn while serving in World War I, according to Sportsnet.
Toronto Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan commented that the new logo would be a way for players and fans to continue to build an exciting future for the team and for the city of Toronto as a whole.
“We are committed to restoring the Toronto Maple Leafs to a proud and prominent place and this classic logo will connect the team’s championship legacy with an exciting and proud future for our players, our city and for our fans,” Shanahan said.
Toronto Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer said he was really happy with the redesign, according to the Toronto Star.
“It looks really good, we got to see it a couple of weeks ago and it’s pretty cool,” he said. “It’s the most storied franchise in hockey and when you change the face of it, it’s pretty big news.”
Pass or Fail: Toronto Maple Leafs’ new logo to get behind:
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The redesign was made part of the broadcast of The Leafs: Blueprint, a show about the Toronto Maple Leafs produced by Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment (MLSE) as a way of capitalizing on the team’s already-considerable fan engagement.
It is anticipated that there will be more 100th-anniversary tie-ins announced as the year wears on, with the Toronto Maple Leafs introducing the new sweaters in time for the NHL draft in June. It would seem that the logo redesign is a smart move from a marketing perspective, according to marketing professor Peter Widdis.
“The most powerful attribute associated with any brand is its heritage… MLSE recognizes the heritage and equity they’ve got associated with this brand,” he said.
However, it can also be said that a championship run can also go a long way towards strengthening a team’s marketability. While The Leafs: Blueprint and the logo redesign is definitely helping the Toronto Maple Leafs improve their brand equity, sports industry retail analyst Matt Powell of the NPD Group said in 2012 that the biggest upswing in a team’s merchandise sales was actually when the Boston Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 after over eight decades.
“A big-market team doing well where (before) they’ve done poorly will absolutely move the needle more than a change in the jersey,” he said at the time.
While it remains to be seen how sales of Toronto Maple Leafs merchandise will improve with the series The Leafs: Blueprint and with the logo redesign, it will be interesting to see whether or not the redesign will meet with fan favor.
[Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images]