Friday, September 1, 2000
By MIKE ULMER -- Toronto Sun
The Blue and White is no more.
The Maple Leafs, bearers of the blue and white that onetime public
relations director Stan Obodiac likened to the colours of the sky and
snow, now will include silver, the colour of corporate seats, on
The Leafs have worn blue and white since Conn Smythe changed the
green and the name of the old Toronto St. Pats in 1928.
The Leafs are believed to be the only original-six team in modern
hockey history to change their colours, although, to be fair, they
did use red lettering in their crest for a year in 1947.
The club also has added a new logo, a stylized TML.
It is believed the Leafs will revert to a version of the old 47-
point Maple Leaf on the chest of their jerseys. The silver will be
backing the players' numbers and quite possibly, on the crest itself.
All this is a closely guarded state secret. The club was going to
announce the changes at a news conference when main training camp
begins, Sept. 7.
The initiative is believed to be at the behest of team president Ken
Now, not having seen the uniforms in full, we will not pronounce a
verdict. We are not fashion Luddites and the only words of caution we
will enter are these: Ottawa Rough Riders. The Riders' combination of
black, white and red was the best colour scheme in the CFL until new
owners opted for a colour scheme last seen at a crime scene. The
Gliebermans did not kill CFL football in Ottawa, their decorator did.
Since 1967, the Maple Leafs have struggled vainly to find a uniform
to match the one they wore for 30 years, a classic discarded during
the first stages of the Harold Ballard era.
The uniform worn by Ace Bailey and Syl Apps was deemed not good
enough for the likes of Jack Valiquette and Joe Lundrigan. Fittingly,
the Leaf was stripped down in the new version, chopped to 11 points
from 35. Ballard probably sold the tips.
Dead and sitting to Satan's right for eternity, Ballard was not
around when a reformed version of the old Leaf was unveiled for
special occasions in 1992. Since then, the Leafs have dickered with
the new-old look, including a vintage uniform for the club's final
season in Maple Leaf Gardens.
All to the good. But now this, a homage to the colour of precious
Have there not been sufficient corporate considerations at the Air
Canada Centre? Isn't it enough that the first three minutes of every
period feature bare stands around the glass, a reminder that the
haves are finishing their sushi.
When a cellphone rings within 10 rows of the ice, it looks like
5,000 people simultaneously have discovered their underwear is on
And is it not enough that the best seats in the house are priced so
no working people can afford the chance to sit close to the action?
The crowning irony, of course, is that the disinterested corporate
boys face no financial hardship since the tickets are on the company
And kids? When was the last time you saw a young person in a good
seat whose last name didn't end with Roman numerals?
Forget the sky and the snow. The blue represents the blood of the
platinum patrons, the white, the colour of the monogrammed shirts
worn by the same corporate lackeys who cluster around the exclusive
walkway to sniff the sweat of the Leafs as they stonily walk to the
This is progress? The color and the sky and the earth is now the
colour of the best dang credit card money can buy.