On December 19th – now less than two weeks away – the Toronto Maple Leafs will take on
storied rival the Carolina Hurricanes in the “Next Century Game”. It’s a game meant to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the NHL, and to celebrate the occasion, the Leafs will be donning these beautiful jerseys:
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) September 12, 2017
Pretty spiffy, huh? While you’ve probably seen these by now, the good news is that you can also own one yourself if you’re in the market for a fancy new hockey sweater.
If you’re anything like me, buying a new jersey can be a little bit intimidating. We’re only a couple of years removed from essentially a decade of the Leafs being a rotating cast of misfit toys, which made investing in player jerseys a difficult and often frustrating task.
The good news is that today, many of our boys in blue and white seem poised to stick around for the foreseeable future. At the same time, that also means there are so many more options to choose from! Today, we figured we’d try and walk you through the decision-making process on some great names to get on the back of your very own Toronto AreTnas sweater if you’re lucky enough to snag one.
So you’ve been a Leafs fan through good times and bad times. Realistically speaking, most of them have probably been bad up until the last couple of years. So congratulations! You’ve stuck around this long, and bleeding blue and white is finally fun again.
Here’s the thing – if you’re a diehard Leafs fan, the guy on the back of your sweater should be too! Lucky for you, budding stars Mitch Marner and Connor Brown were also Leaf fans since birth, who probably cried with you after Game 7 and remember when Arturs Irbe — okay, who are we kidding, there’s no way that Mitch and Connor are old enough to remember 2002.
You get the point, though. Diehards should wear the names of diehards.
Verdict: Get that sweet #16, or maybe even Connor Brown if you’re feeling dangerous.
The Team Player
Maybe you’re not Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner or William Nylander. That doesn’t mean you’re not a vital part of your team; a güd pro who shows up and plays hard every night.
While so many eyes have been rightfully fixated on the Big Three, let’s not forget that Nazem Kadri is a Toronto Maple Leaf, and probably will be for a long time. Morgan Rielly seems to finally be the prized cornerstone of the back-end that he was promised to be. And heck, despite his struggles this season, Jake Gardiner made his Leafs debut all the way back in 2011-12, and he’s still a vital piece on the team today (thanks Kyle Dubas).
Verdict: Nazem Kadri is a no-brainer. So is Rielly. If goalies are your thing, maybe snag a Freddie Andersen sweater. Both will age very well in your jersey collection and seem to be locks on this team for a long time coming.
Maybe you’re a Josh Leivo truther who can’t help but use the eggplant emoji when you think about the roster spot that JVR / Uncle Leo will leave behind after this season. Maybe watching Zach Hyman rush into the corners with a head full of steam is your cup of tea.
Maybe you love drinking cortados and taking coffee pictures as much as Connor Carrick does. If so, we are sorry to say that you are definitely a hipster. Yes, you.
The Verdict: Err on the side of caution, but listen to your heart. Snag that Connor Carrick Arenas jersey if you’re so inclined. And yes, you can keep your flannel on underneath.
Maybe you’ve got a soft spot for the grizzled vets. Maybe even the really really grizzled vets. Like, vets who are so grizzled that they played hockey in 1917.
There’s a lot of room to have fun with this one, if you’re so inclined. Consider that Jack Adams – yes, the Jack Adams, played for the Toronto Arenas during their inaugural season in 1917-18. Maybe you want to rep the Arenas’ leading goal-scorer, Reg Noble, who potted a hilarious 30 goals in 20 games that season.
If that’s too much of a stretch, let’s not forget that the current Leafs now employ 38-year old future hall of famer Paddy Marleau. He hasn’t looked half bad on this club either, which would make this an even better choice.
Verdict: Jack Adams for the serious hockey historians, or Paddy if you can actually remember the year 1997.
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) November 19, 2017
If we’re being honest, this one is probably a no-brainer. I am a proud owner of a Matthews Arenas jersey, and I’m not sure I’d have it any other way. Rep your savior and feel you’ll feel as beautiful and flawless as he is, folks.
Bonus: Your Jersey, Your Choice!
Have some fun. Get your own name. Get your dog’s name. Get a Mats Sundin Arenas jersey. Just be tasteful and snag something you’ll want to wear proudly wherever you may be. These Arenas sweaters are absolutely gorgeous, and I, for one, can’t wait to see them on the ice.