I think we can all agree that a leaf is a leaf and a tree is covered with leaves. So why on earth would Toronto's venerable hockey team have the apparently ungrammatical name of the Maple Leafs and not the Maple Leaves? Surprisingly, the name passes the grammar test with flying colors. While there are several origin stories, the most convincing is that after taking control of an earlier nameless Toronto team, new owner Conn Smythe named it after the insignia he had worn during the First World War as part of the Maple Leaf regiment, members of which were accurately called Maple Leafs. The original 1927 logo, shown at right, was green, until the Leafs adopted their blue and white look the next season. That first logo has a certain irregular charm, although it bears an uncomfortable resemblance to the air fresheners once hung from car rear view mirrors.
With the 2017 centennial of the Leafs on the horizon, management not surprisingly thought a logo refresh might help boost morale (and drive merchandise sales). Hard to disagree, given the current logo, which is the ugliest variation on a simple enough theme. Even the type treatment was horrendous. Often such redesigns suck all the life and tradition out of once-great institutions, a perfect example being the recent lobotomy of the Canadian Football League logo. But in the case of the Leafs, the current logo had already reached the dead end of mindless simplification. Amazingly, instead of simply walking away from decades of design history, some bright spark went through the archives and came up with a rendition that embodies much of the team's history.
Not only is the overall look of the leaf and the type treatment a welcome echo of the past, but get this: "The new Maple Leaf has 31 points, a nod to the year 1931 and a defining moment in team history with the opening of Maple Leaf Gardens. The new badge contains a total of 17 veins, representing the year the franchise was founded (1917), and includes 13 veins at the top of the crest to commemorate the club’s Stanley Cup Championships." Brilliant! Fans just love this kind of thing and if comments on the Leaf's Facebook page are representative, the response to the new design been overwhelming positive. Now if only the beleaguered team could start winning!