Published On: Wed, Aug 24th, 2016

Raptors reveal Huskies, Chinese New Year alternates for 2016-17

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The Toronto Raptors will have two new uniforms in the rotation this coming season. The organization rolled out its 2016-17 alternates on Tuesday – with one a nod to the city’s NBA roots, and the other to one of its most prominent immigrant cultures.

The Raptors will rock an alternate inspired by the Toronto Huskies – the city’s first basketball team – which was founded 70 years ago and lasted just one season.

The uniform will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the first-ever NBA game, played between the Huskies and the New York Knicks at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens on Nov. 1, 1946.

The Huskies alternates will be worn for several home games in the first half of the season, Sportsnet’s Dave Zarum reports. The team says they’ll be available for purchase in October.

The design presents an updated, sleeker take on the Huskies uniforms that the Raptors first introduced during the 2009-10 season.

Dave Freeman, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment’s head of brand marketing, says the new design much more closely resembles the original.

“These are basically exactly what those guys wore in 1946,” Freeman told Zarum. “The colors aren’t identical because it’s a different manufacturer now and different threads come out differently, but we tried to work with Adidas to get it as close as possible.”

Meanwhile, the Raptors are also one of three teams launching a Chinese New Year alternate this season:

The jerseys will be worn twice during a homestand immediately following the Chinese New Year, which falls on Jan. 28, 2017.

The team’s website notes that the dragon head in the logo goes beyond its prominence as a Chinese cultural signifier. There’s actually a fortuitous practical application, as “Raptor” and “Dragon” share the same character in Chinese.

“The makeup of this city, with its huge Chinese population, it makes sense,” Freeman said of the New Year jerseys, which were apparently two years in the making. “In the past we’ve done many heritage nights for China and a number of different ethnicities, but this is a step forward. It’s a no-brainer for us to do something further to connect with that Chinese community.”

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