Leafs freeze jerseys for marketing stunt

Nothing says “NHL hockey is back” like a swarm of puck-mad Maple Leafs fans running around Toronto brandishing ice picks and blowtorches.

Making like a fan-friendly version of Mr. Freeze, the Toronto hockey club’s marketing arm scattered the city with more than two dozen pristine Leafs jerseys after midnight Thursday. One catch: they’re encased in blocks of ice.

Fans are encouraged to snap photos with the frozen jerseys, which, according to the Toronto Star (an MLSE partner itself), are located outside the offices of MLSE partners.

Below the jerseys, the slogan “The Passion That Unites Us All” is etched into the icy bricks.

The idea may have been borrowed from last season’s All-Star Game festivities, as organizers in Ottawa individually froze the jerseys of all 30 NHL clubs and lined them along the Rideau Canal.

When one fan asked the team via Twitter Friday if he could keep the sweater should he crack the ice, the team tweeted, “Yup!”

The marketing stunt comes on the heels of the announcement Thursday that the team will be giving away 1,000 free tickets to its home opener. In addition, all Leafs season-ticket holders will get their seats to Monday’s game comped.

While a significant portion of NHL fans remain bitter about a lockout that delayed and shortened this season, most NHL clubs are starting to roll out initiatives to restore their supporters’ passion for the game.

Not all of them, however, involve calling in sick and bolting to the downtown core with your cordless hair dryer.