Awesome Sports Logos Blog

The History of the Toronto Maple Leafs Awesome Sports Logo

The Toronto Maple Leafs organization is one of professional sports’ most iconic and historic franchises. Think a ticket to Fenway Park is tough? Try lining up a ticket to a Maple Leafs game inside the Air Canada Centre. The Maple Leaf, which dons the Canadian flag, is, to some, just as much a symbol of Toronto’s hockey team as it is the country. But, did you ever wonder how the Maple Leaf became attached to Toronto?

Late ice hockey executive, legendary Frank Calder, led a group of owners in the National Hockey Association (NHA) to start their own league in 1917. The new group froze out the Toronto “Blue Shirts,” winners of the 1914 Stanley Cup. It wasn’t because of a lack of success, but because the rest of the owners did not fancy Toronto’s owner, Eddie Livingstone. While the “Blue Shirts” were out of the league, that did not necessarily mean that Toronto was out of the league. 

A new Toronto franchise with a different ownership joining the new league former by the group led by Calder. While it might seem inconceivable to those dying to add a hashtag to every proper noun possible, the new skaters from Toronto did not really have a nickname. Some called them the “Blue Shirts,” a carryover from the NHA, while others simply referred to one of the league’s top teams as the “Torontos,” #nocreativity. 

The Toronto squad finished tied for first with the Montreal Canadiens at the end of the new league’s first season. Incidentally, the only reason the Canadiens achieved a record strong enough to tie Toronto’s is that they won two games by forfeiture charged against the Montreal Wanderers, whose stadium was destroyed by fire. After depositing the Canadiens for the NHL Championship, Toronto advanced to the PCHA victors, the Vancouver—wait, cue the theme show music—Millionaires. While Regis Philbin wasn’t hosting, Toronto put a twist on the former famed show, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? by playing, Who Wants To Beat The Millionaires? The answer: Toronto, taking the series in 5 games and winning the 1918 Stanley Cup.

Despite their recent fortunes, however, Toronto filed for bankruptcy in 1920, only to be rescued by Charles L. Querrie. Still without a nickname, this “lucky” franchise was named the “St. Patricks,” in honor of the growing Irish population in Toronto. With a fresh start and a new image, Toronto’s colors became green and white. Rebounding from a disastrous 1919 season, the fighting Irish barely missed out on the playoffs, taking big strides towards improvement. It was only two years later when they hoisted the Cup again, once more defeating the Millionaires in 5 games.

Unfortunately, their success once again hit a snag. After their 1920 Cup, the St. Patricks missed out on the playoffs or fell short of expectations for a handful of years consecutively.

The Conn Smythe Trophy is awarded to the MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Conn Smythe, himself, was arguably the MVP of Toronto’s hockey franchise in the 1920’s. With the team’s struggles, there was talk of removing the team from Toronto in favor of Philadelphia. However, Smythe, who headed a group of investors who purchased the team, decided to keep the team in Toronto. Smythe also took control as the team’s General Manager and Coach. With plenty of controlling interest, Smythe didn’t have too many people get in his way when he decided to change the team’s name. It was in February of 1927 that Toronto’s hockey franchise entered into a marriage with the nickname: Maple Leafs. 

After once scouting a team in East Toronto known as the Maple Leafs, Smythe took a liking to the name. He also felt that it made sense and was appropriate as a World War I veteran to choose a logo that demonstrated patriotism like the Maple Leaf did symbolically for Canada. Along with the adoption of the Maple Leaf nickname, Toronto went back to its traditional color scheme of blue and white, which remains their identity today.

While Awesome Sports Logos might not have a century’s worth of history, it does have sports t-shirts that pay homage to history like, the Dallas Doughboys, a term that dates back all the way to the Mexican American War.
Maybe that’s not your thing? The New York Zouaves t-shirt is a smooth looking choice that recognizes the historic Zouaoua tribe and its French-Algerian ties. The New York Zouaves fought during the civil war with tremendous success. Their unorthodox tactics produced highly successful results which included re-loading their guns lying down as well as spacing themselves further apart than most regimens which created tougher targets for the south. 
These are just a few examples of how Awesome Sports Logos incorporates history to go along with awesome, sports, and logos!
Thanks as always for reading,
Jared Sandler
Awesome Sports Logos Columnist 


Recent Posts

  • Count us in for the Upcoming Hockey/Zombie Movie
  • Sports Logo Spotlight on the Frederick Keys
  • Sports Illustrated Fashionable 50 Logo Falls Short
  • After 20 Years The Chicago Fire Still Have an Awesome Logo
  • Big 3 Basketball is Worth a Watch