February 22, 2017
CBC News with Empire and the Toronto Maple Leafs
A good suit is all about the fit. But in the case of two Toronto Maple Leafs players, it’s all about the jacket lining too.
Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner helped a custom menswear company in the city design a jacket lining for two men’s suits that the pair plan to wear before and after the NHL’s Centennial Classic on New Year’s Day.
The Leafs face off against the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday at BMO Field.
The lining features images of former NHLers — Leafs and Wings — who played in the previous winter classics and their logos. It has an embroidered version of the 100th Centennial Classic patch, which the players in the game will wear on the shoulder of their jerseys.
Toronto Maple Leafs player Morgan Rielly
Morgan Rielly, a player for the Toronto Maple Leafs, knows clothes make the man. Here Byron Abad of Empire Customs, helps him tie a tie. (CBC)
“We had a idea a few weeks ago about maybe doing a cool suit for the outdoor game we are playing on January 1st against the Wings,” Rielly said.
“It’s something that we could maybe keep for a long time and have some good memories about playing in a pretty cool game. Me and Jake both wanted to do something cool to pay tribute to the guys that played on the teams in the past. It’s a fun idea.”
Rielly said the liner includes “some cool pictures from the past” that celebrate “some great players.”
Jake Gardiner, a player with the Toronto Maple Leafs, knows that it’s important to look good on and off the ice. Here he is tying a tie. (CBC)
“We worked with Empire Customs to form a jacket that had a lot of history to it. As you can see, the interior is lined with ex-players from both the Wings and the Leafs. And we thought that would be pretty cool. It has a bit of an older look,” Gardiner said.
“It’s one of those things that we will have a very long time and that we can show our kids someday too.”
According to Dennis Tavares, owner of Empire Customs, in business for the past five years, the players provided “concepts” for the design.
Dennis Tavares, owner of Empire Customs, said the liner has an “old school” feel. (CBC)
“Recently, Morgan and Jake wanted to make a special suit to celebrate a hundred years of hockey for the Centennial game. To do that, we really wanted to create an old school feel to tie in the history of everything.”
Tavares said the company used a flannel fabric, a heavier wool that was popular in the 1940s, with what he called a vintage liner, along with the patch, and a vintage filter. Every image was selected individually.
“It all ties together,” he said. “The insider of the liner features some of the best players over the past 100 years.”
The retail value of each suit, which includes the lining, is $1,499. The company made suits for both players out of worsted wool, a flannel type material, that comes from Huddersfield Cloth, a merchant in the U.K.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Closeup of one image in the jacket lining designed by two Toronto Maple Leafs players. (CBC)
Both are fitted suits and took four weeks to make. Each suit comes with a shirt, tie and pocket square.
Rielly’s suit, which is double-breasted, has a glen check pattern, with a grey base on a blue check. Gardiner’s suit has a houndstooth pattern, with a grey base and black houndstooth.
And to look good off the ice, a suit comes in handy.
Tavares said the company has sold custom suits to a number of Leafs and to members of Team Canada. The business has been built by word of mouth, he said.
NHL’s Centennial Classic special jacket lining
They shoot, they score, they design clothes: NHL players Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner show off their creation. They came up with an idea for a jacket lining that pays tribute to former Centennial Classic players from the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings. (CBC)