It all started with a mock-up: A blue circular shape laid out around centre ice encompassing 19 white maple leafs for the Toronto Maple Leafs’ home opener on October 15. The numbers of 17 former Maple Leafs players were being retired that Saturday evening at the Air Canada Centre, and a focal point for the nearly 20,000 fans to honour their heroes was the order of the day.
It was mid-August. Vifloor Canada received a call from the Game Presentation Department at Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment (MLSE) saying they had an idea and wanted to know if the Toronto-based company could handle the job.
Creating the custom carpet
Knowing the colour to match was Maple Leaf blue, Vifloor went to work on what it knows best: a custom carpet job. Working closely with MLSE and its custom carpet manufacturer, Vifloor successfully created a 38’ diameter custom carpet with 19 white maple leafs spaced out in a circle around centre ice.
A work-back schedule was put together. Fortunately, timing was in they company’s favour, and the carpet was able to ship the day before Hurricane Mathew hit nearby Georgia.
A 120′ roll was shipped comprising of three design panels. The carpet had a 38’ diameter, and due to the fact that there were some critical areas that needed to be matched up, on-site installation and seaming was completed as necessary.
The carpet was rolled out in Vifloor’s warehouse on October 13, where the panels were cut, certain sections seamed. Then, it was transported down to the Air Canada Centre. The custom carpet was installed around centre ice, lining up critical areas, and seaming done with precision by Vifloor staff.
This wasn’t the only time this carpet was installed on ice, as the Air Canada Centre is a buzz of activity 300 days of the year. As it turned out, the Raptors had a game the night before on Friday October 14, so the installation had to be lifted up, stored on-site and then re-laid just prior to the Maple Leafs’ Centennial Anniversary home opener game. Sixteen previously “honoured” jerseys and their numbers were retired, alongside two previously retired numbers. Dave Keon’s number 14 was added to the distinguished group.
Vifloor Canada was very pleased to have been chosen to supply and install the carpet for centre ice for this special moment in Maple Leafs’ history. Vifloor’s tagline is “Stand Confidently,” and stand confidently is what all the honoured players and family members did on Saturday night.