The Toronto Maple Leafs are taking a nice step forward by taking a few steps back.
The new Maple Leafs logo, which was revealed after the completion of the team's game against the Boston Bruins (which went into overtime, just to prolong the suspense for fans who had been anxiously awaiting the unveiling of the new design), is an updated version of the old vein-accented logo that the Leafs wore from 1938 through 1963.
The new design will become the team's primary logo next season, as part the Leafs' centennial celebration. New uniforms are also on the way, and will be revealed at the NHL draft in late June.
Although the new design is clearly a shoutout to the team's visual heritage, there are some key differences between the new logo and the older one on which it's based, as you can see here:
Like so many logos and uniforms these days, this one comes with assorted "storylines" embedded into the design. For example, the new leaf has 31 points (the old one had 35), a reference to 1931 -- the year Maple Leaf Gardens opened. In addition, the leaf also has 17 veins, a reference to the franchise's founding in 1917. Thirteen of those veins are in the upper portion of the leaf, reflecting the team's 13 Stanley Cup titles.
Those talking points feel strained and are likely to be forgotten in the weeks and months to come. Still, the feeling here is that the Leafs got this one right. The team's current logo, with its blocky, almost cartoonish shape, feels well past its sell-by date. Going for an updated classic look is a good route to take, especially for a legacy franchise like the Leafs. All in all: Well done.
Paul Lukas hates it when uniform and logo unveilings get delayed by overtime. If you liked this column, you'll probably like his Uni Watch Blog, plus you can follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Want to learn about his Uni Watch Membership Program, be added to his mailing list so you'll always know when a new column has been posted or just ask him a question? Contact him here.