The Maple Leafs stand to make millions from revenue generated by sales of their third jersey, says one marketing analyst.
The Leafs are officially unveiling their throwback jersey - virtually the same design as the sweater worn by captain George Armstrong when the Leafs last won the Stanley Cup in 1967 - on Friday, after a picture of it leaked on the Internet over the weekend.
The Leafs will wear them at their home opener on Oct. 6 against the Montreal Canadiens.
"It's definitely going to be a hot item ... it's going to generate millions of dollars in revenue," said Keith McIntyre, a marketing expert based in Burlington, Ont.
"From what I've seen, it's pretty much identical to the jerseys worn by the last Leafs team to win the Stanley Cup. That in itself is going to generate a lot of interest.
"It's one that hasn't been on the market. The logo is very classy."
When the Edmonton Oilers introduced a third jersey in 2002, sales topped $100,000 on the first night alone.
On an average game night at the Air Canada Centre, Real Sports Apparel sells 20-30 Leaf jerseys, said Mike Gagurerriero, supervisor of the MLSE-owned store.
Real Sports Apparel will be selling the jersey exclusively for 10 days after Friday's announcement.
Authentic jerseys at the store sell for $300 or $380 with a number and name on the back. Regular replica sweaters are $129 blank or $189 with a name and number.
Jerseys worn by Phil Kessel and captain Dion Phaneuf were the most popular when they first arrived. Lately, goalie James Reimer has been the big seller at the store.
Reebok, the exclusive supplier of NHL jerseys, recently sent at least one box containing the Leafs' new third jerseys to at least one retail outlet.
Somebody at the Buffalo Sabres store inside their newly-named First Niagara Center opened the box and put the jersey on display.
A person snapped a picture of the predominately blue jersey with white stripes and it was posted on the blog icethetics.info
The jerseys are now packed away somewhere inside the Sabres store. A man who answered the phone, politely told a reporter it had been a mistake, not made by them, but by Reebok.
"Reebok shipped it to us. They're not allowed to ship anything before they're unveiled," he said. "How were we to know?"
Reebok didn't return Star calls seeking comment.
An industry insider said no retail store would dare sell a jersey before they're allowed to sell it so they believe it must have been shipped by mistake and opened by mistake.
Teams normally have exclusivity until the jersey is worn on the ice, and at that point the jersey is available to other retailers.
Chris Ciprietti of the Sports Obsession franchise said their stores won't receive shipments of the third Leaf jersey until at least the middle of the month.
"The sales generated from a new jersey and specifically Toronto would be extremely high," Ciprietti said. "Leaf fans are starving for success and there seems to be more optimism that they are moving in the right direction."
Judging by the interest of Star readers, retail outlets are going to sell a lot of them when they're officially allowed to sell them.
The Leafs haven't said how many times the third jersey will be worn.
The third sweater will sport a solid white banner with two thinner stripes at the waist.
And there's no patch on the shoulders. The "Toronto" on the crest is also curved, similar to how the name was curved on the 1937 sweater.