The game will serve as a celebration of the centennial season of the Maple Leafs and the beginning of the NHL's centennial year.
This will be the second of four outdoor NHL games this season, with the Heritage Classic having been played back in October between the Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets, the Winter Classic following tomorrow when the St. Louis Blues host the Chicago Blackhawks and a Stadium Series game in late February when the Philadelphia Flyers meet the Pittsburgh Penguins.
This will be the second time the Maple Leafs and the Red Wings have met outdoors, having previously met in the 2014 Winter Classic in Michigan, which was won by the Maple Leafs in a shootout 3-2 in front of an NHL record 105,491 fans at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.
The Maple Leafs franchise originated in 1917 when the members of the National Hockey Association disbanded their league and reformed a week later as the National Hockey League in order to rid themselves of contentious fellow owner Eddie Livingstone.
The league demanded that Livingstone sell the Shamrocks, not wanting one owner having two votes on league matters. Due to the small size of the NHA, this gave Livingstone a substantial amount of power with 33% of the votes, a situation made worse by his poor relationships with his fellow owners, primarily Sam Lichtenhein of the Montreal Wanderers, with whom he often butted heads with. At one point, Lichtenhein even offered Livingstone $3,000 to abandon his team and walk away, but the cheeky Livingstone countered with a $5,000 offer for Lichtenhein to do the same!
When there was nothing left of the Shamrocks for Livingstone to sell, since the club no longer had any players, the league seized the Shamrocks franchise from Livingstone a week later. It also angered the other owners that they were now a five team league, forcing one club to be idle each week and meaning road trips to Toronto would now be for just one game against the Blueshirts instead of the more economical two games versus both the Blueshirts and the Shamrocks, as in the past.
As a result of this lawsuit, the Arena Gardens formed a new company, the Toronto Arena Hockey Club Company, to own and run a hockey team separate from the Arena Gardens business in order to protect the Arena business from Livingstone's lawsuits.
The NHL then awarded a "new" franchise to the Hockey Club Company. This club was officially named the Toronto Arenas and, not surprisingly, was stocked with the same players from the 1918 championship team. When his players were again not returned to him for the 1918-19 season, Livingstone sued the Arena Gardens.
The Maple Leafs would win five NHL titles in the 1940s, 1942, 1945, 1947, 1948 and 1949. After winning again in 1951, they would have to wait a decade before reeling off three in a row in 1962, 1963 and 1964, with their 13th and most recent coming in 1967.
After one more season in Victoria, the entire WCHL folded and the Victoria Cougars players were sold to the new Detroit NHL franchise, which took the name the Cougars as a tribute to the Victoria club before eventually becoming the Red Wings. Holmes would play his final two seasons in Detroit and conclude his career with 408 games played, 198 wins, 40 of which were shutouts, 192 losses and 14 ties.
The use of silver trim on the jersey is in recognition of both the team and the NHL's Centennial season, while the white band around the jersey was inspired by jerseys worn by the St. Patricks during the 1926-27 season.
Today's second bonus jersey is a Detroit Red Wings 2017 Centennial Classic Henrik Zetterberg jersey. Like Toronto, the Red Wings jerseys also use silver to commemorate the league's 100th Anniversary. The normally white areas of the winged wheel crest, the trim around the numbers and the top stripe of the sleeves, which contains the 11 years that Detroit has won the Stanley Cup.
The use of four sleeve stripes is in recognition of the original Detroit Cougars, which used striped sleeves during the 1928-29 season before the club changed their name to the Detroit Falcons in 1930 before becoming the Red Wings in 1932.