<
>

Toronto Maple Leafs unveil new logo ahead of centennial season

TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs have unveiled a new logo for the first time in more than 45 years in anticipation of their centennial season.

The new look was released by the team Tuesday night and is a fresh take on the "classic Maple Leaf" emblem of Toronto teams from the 1940s to the 1960s. It will serve as the team's primary crest beginning in the 2016-17 campaign.

The logo, with some slight alterations, aligns most closely to a version worn from 1963 to '67, the most successful era in Maple Leafs history. The team hasn't won the Stanley Cup since 1967.

"As an organization, we wanted to get back to our roots, when Conn Smythe first changed the team logo to the Maple Leaf in 1927," Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said in a statement. "Inspired by the badge that he and his fellow Canadian soldiers wore during World War I, Smythe wanted his team to wear the badge with 'honour, pride and courage.' This is our goal for the next chapter in Leafs history."

The logo adjustment is the team's fifth since it changed its name from the Toronto St. Patricks to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1927, and the first change of any kind since 1970.

The new logo resembles a real leaf more closely than the current insignia, which has sharper lines and blocky letters.

The logo has subtle hints to commemorate the franchise's richer days of old. The leaf has 31 points, a nod to the Maple Leaf Gardens' opening in 1931. It also has 17 veins to represent the 1917 founding of the franchise, and thirteen of those veins are at the top of the crest to commemorate the club's 13 Stanley Cup championships.

In further celebration of the centennial season, the Leafs will unveil uniforms featuring the new crest at the upcoming 2016 NHL draft in Buffalo, New York.

The Toronto Marlies, the club's AHL affiliate, will also adopt the new-look crest along with the club's own historic crown, in keeping with past traditions.

The new badge was revealed during an episode of the 'The Leaf: Blueprint,' the team's behind-the-scenes documentary series.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.