The Toronto Maple Leafs will wear an all-white uniform at the March 3 outdoor game against the Washington Capitals in Annapolis, Maryland, and the jerseys got a lot of criticism when they were revealed to the public last week.
On Friday, it was time for the players themselves to put them on and revealed how they feel about the new look. The Leafs tested out the white gloves and pants at Friday's practice and the reviews weren't all that positive. In an interview with TSN, several players mentioned major issues with the all-white attire.
Forward James van Riemsdyk pointed out important challenges with his new uniform.
"The vision felt a little tougher out there today with all the white moving around, but hopefully we will get used to it as time goes on," the forward mentioned, trying to stay positive.
He went on to joke that the look could have a camouflage affect and give Toronto an advantage.
"We could have an advantage, maybe sneak another guy on the ice for some of the game, so that'd be good."
Superstar Auston Matthews did have much to say about the all white uniform, but his short comment said it all.
"Yeah, a lot of white. Yeah, it's a lot of white out there."
With his players openly talking about the challenges of the special uniforms for the Stadium Series against the Capitals, head coach Mike Babcock did not need to add a whole lot more to his team's comments.
"Yeah, ummm," he first hesitated to answer. "What else?" he asked looking at other reporters who laughed at his reaction to the white on white.
The Stadium Series outdoor game will be played at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium and the Maple Leafs used the Royal Canadian Navy as inspiration for their uniform design, according to the team.
“The Maple Leafs have had a very long and proud association with our Armed Forces throughout the years and this special game is an important opportunity for us to not only pay tribute to the Royal Canadian Navy, but to also say thank you to the many men and women who serve our country so bravely,” team president Brendan Shanahan said in a statement. “This unique uniform, to mark a unique occasion, celebrates the traditions of both the Royal Canadian Navy and the Toronto Maple Leafs and it will be a great honour for our players to wear this sweater next month.”
Inside the collar of the Stadium Series sweater will be the motto of the Royal Canadian Navy: “Ready, Aye, Ready.” The Maple Leafs’ motto of “Honour Pride Courage” will be moved from the collar to the sleeve for the event and be stitched in blue.
Leafs players had admitted after the unveiling of the uniforms that they were surprised by the look.
“It was a little bit of a shock,” Tyler Bozak told Sportsnet last week. “Hopefully it’s not snowing… or we might not be able to see each other. I like ’em. I think it’s cool. Kinda something different.”
"I actually do [own white pants],” Name Kadri had said with a smile.