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NHL Teams To Watch: Toronto Maple Leafs
- Updated: January 13, 2022
The Toronto Maple Leafs are a symbol of Canadian pride and strength. They are widely believed to be the heart of the National Hockey League, however, that is a common misconception. While it is one of the original six and one of the original members of the Atlantic division within the Eastern Conference, the Maple Leafs are not the first professional hockey team that Canada has seen. That said, they are definitely one of the most impressive and widely recognized groups throughout history. These are some reasons why the Maple Leafs are a team to watch in the coming seasons of the NHL. For accurate predictions and the latest odds, check out the hockey betting lines.
The Toronto Maple Leafs formed in 1917 shortly after the creation of the National Hockey League (NHL) which came to light as a way of including hockey teams from Ottawa, Quebec, and Toronto. The different bases were alternated during the early days of the NHL, and teams emerged based on the available players in the area.
The team is known as a member of the “original six” which is a group of hockey teams that endured the Great Depression. Around this time, there was a great deal of politics around the NHL, especially the Maple Leafs. The team did not have any specific name for a brief period of time, and following a series of ownership disputes and franchise deals, there have been a few instances where the team’s name changed. There is some debate about whether the Leafs are the same team that were once called “Toronto Blueshirts”, but they were definitely once known as the Toronto St. Patrick’s, complete with a color change from blue to green.
Con Smythe was a big influence on the Maple Leafs and shaping it into what it is today. In 1927, he gained ownership of the team and his first task was to change their name into something that is more illustrative of Canada, the maple leaf. It was seen as a badge of courage during the war, which is what makes it fitting for the team name. The original color of blue was kept, and the team wore white and blue uniforms for most of their games.
The team’s first fourteen seasons of home games were played in Mutual Street Arena, Toronto. From there, they moved to Maple Leaf Gardens following its 1931 construction. Smythe wanted to create a more modern space for the team, which is why the venue takes its name from the team and is still known under the name today. While it is currently used for conferences and other uses, the building was designed to act as a home base for the team for many years, and that is exactly what happened.
Scotiabank arena (formerly known as the Air Canada Center) is the Leafs’ current home, and they moved there in 1999. It is an impressive construction with multiple facilities, which makes it an ideal base for basketball and hockey teams alike. The arena is owned by the same company that own the team, and it is a huge venue that is known as the thirteenth busiest arena in the world.
One of the most widely known symbols of the team is the blue maple leaf. It can be seen on most versions of the uniform, regardless of what variant is being worn. The uniform that is most commonly seen features a white jersey with the blue maple leaf logo on the front. However, there have been some variants to this which feature historical “throwback” designs. Blue sweaters with white stripes across the arms and chest are one of the team’s favorite alternate styles, and there have even been unique styles such as the reverse retro jersey.
Some of the team’s main rivals are matched with the Leafs in terms of their abilities. The rivalries can be particularly tense for those who were “original six” members, as the competitive nature runs even deeper. Some of the most widely known competitors for the Leafs are the Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, and Montreal Canadians.
To summarize, there are a lot of things that have contributed to the impressive team that we know today. The Maple Leafs have extremely rich origins, and have been a key part of the NHL’s growth into what it is today. An essential part of the original six has allowed team members to appreciate the intense game for what it is and work on their core strength and communication skills in order to be the best that they can be.