TORONTO - Five consecutive years out of the playoffs does not quite have every adult and kid in these parts wishing for a Maple Leafs sweater at Christmas.
But blue and white still sells and with a new captain aboard, the Leafs are coming out with a slightly revised design this year, with horizontal waist stripes restored and most notably, the two vintage Leafs shoulder patches that were a hit in 1992 when coach Pat Burns arrived and the moribund team shot to the conference final.
Tom Anselmi, the executive vice-president and COO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment thinks the Leafs still score in the market.
“The league keeps (top jersey revenue) to itself, but we’re typically one of the higher teams, even if we maybe dipped a bit the past couple of years,” Anselmi said Monday. “But that’s not what this change is about. People may suspect this is about lighting a fire under sales, but you make the decisions based on what’s right for the franchise and the fans.”
The new look also has a popular old-time, lace-up neck that the club’s third jersey from the 1960s features.
“When the Reebok jersey came out in ’06, it was all about this vertical cut and trying to eliminate the horizontal stuff,” Anselmi said. “We played ball, but our fans right from the get-go have been vocal that they wanted the shoulder patch and the wave stripes back.”
Anselmi says the team is re-thinking plans for a classic-style third jersey slated for 2011-12. General manager Brian Burke has already said he wants no part of a radical third design.