“That is one ugly jersey.”
That’s what Sudbury Wolves CEO Mark Burgess had to say about the sweaters the OHL squad will wear for its home-opener weekend this Friday and Saturday night.
Those who have been following the team since its inception 40 years ago will be struck with a wave of nostalgia as the team hits the ice, donning the green and white uniforms from the team’s earliest years.
“My father wouldn’t be very happy,” Burgess said, with a laugh. “If he was alive today, I don’t think he’d let this happen. He really did hate the green and white.”
While Ken Burgess may be rolling in his grave, his son recognized the significance the retro jersey holds in the community.
“Green and white has played a tremendous part in the Wolves’ history for 40 or 50 years,” Burgess said. “I owe it to the fans.
“But that doesn’t mean I have to like it,” he added with a laugh. “As I’ve said, it is one ugly jersey, but we’re excited for it. It’s something that’s tying the past to the present to the future.
“I’m proud of the Wolves, whatever colour jersey they’re wearing.”
The players are embracing the new look as well. Defencemen Charlie Dodero and Justin Sefton modeled the new uniforms for media earlier this week, decked out in the retro green and white sweaters and matching pants, right down to vintage socks.
“It’s a little bit of a change, but I think it’s going to be a good experience for the guys and the fans, just to go back and see what it was like to play in the 70s,” Dodero said.
“Sudbury Wolves have historically been one of the best franchises in the OHL. We’re just trying to do our best to make the guys that played in the 70s look good and let them know that the Wolves are still doing well.”
The sweaters may be a sight unseen for nearly all of the Wolves’ current roster, but for one veteran, the green and white is a family tradition.
Kristoff Kontos, a third-year forward with the team, has seen the jersey in photos of his father, Chris Kontos, who played with the Wolves from 1980-1982.
“Kontos’ dad wore that old jersey, so it has another meaning for him then it does for us,” Sefton said.
“I think for us it’s just a cool feeling, and the 40th anniversary, to be part of that is something special. I think it’ll be a good season and with (these jerseys) it will be even better.”
Burgess said when the players join the team, “they understand the tradition of the Sudbury Wolves.”
“It’s a great opportunity for them to be part of something that’s even bigger than what we’re doing,” he added.
Burgess family celebrates 25 years of ownership
The Wolves will celebrate another milestone in the 2011-2012 season.
This year marks the Burgess family’s 25th season owning and operating the Sudbury Wolves, making them the longest serving owners in the league.
“Nov. 25 is exactly 25 years to the day of my dad’s first victory (owning the team),” Burgess said.
“It’s a great moment in our family, and something that’s tied our family to the fabric of this community, and something I’ve always been proud of.”
Heading into the 25th year, Burgess has his sights set on one thing.
“We’re still trying to bring a championship here,” he said. “I think we’ve assembled the right team to do that. That being said, it’s not easy to win.”
On Nov. 25, OHL commissioner David Branch will make a special presentation to the Burgess family prior to the Wolves game against the Owen Sound Attack at the Sudbury Arena.
There will be 40th anniversary events held throughout the season as well.
On Friday night, two Wolves fans, who have been season ticket holders for the entire 40 years, along with former Wolves’ coach Jerry Toppazzini, will take part in the ceremonial face-off.
Starting Oct. 1, fans can make their picks for the 40th Anniversary Sudbury Wolves All-Star Teams by voting online at www.sudburywolves.com.
On March 3, following the Pack’s game against the Kitchener Rangers, the 40th anniversary retro jerseys will be auctioned off.
There will also be a memorabilia table set up at various home games throughout the season, where fans can check out old photos, statistics, videos and other items from days gone by.
Visit the Sudbury Wolves website for more information on special 40th anniversary events.
The puck drops on the team’s season tomorrow night against the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
On Saturday, the Pack will host the Brampton Battalion, with action getting underway at 7 p.m.
- Posted by Laurel Myers