Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com
Get ready for Throwback Night at Air Canada Centre. When the Toronto Raptors host the New York Knicks in a rare Saturday night game at Air Canada Centre, the faces will be the same, but the colour scheme will be a bit different. Paying homage to the Toronto Huskies, the Raptors will set aside their red and white uniforms and slip into some blue for a callback to the 1946-47 season of the Basketball Association of America.
The Huskies were a founding member of the BAA (what is now known as the NBA). They hosted the New York Knickerbockers in the BAA’s first game, November 1, 1946 at Maple Leaf Gardens, and it's quite fitting that this year’s Huskies night will feature the Raptors facing off against the Knicks. A crowd of 7,090 was on hand to see the Knickerbockers defeat the Huskies 68-66, in a basketball game where dunking was illegal and the three-pointer hadn’t yet been introduced. The most expensive ticket to the game was $2.50 and the team held a promotion for that first game where any fan taller than George Nostrand, the tallest player on the Huskies roster at 6-foot-8, was granted free admission. The first basket was made by Ossie Schectman of the Knickerbockers. Although the Huskies lasted just one season in the BAA, they’ll always be an important piece of Canadian basketball history.
Huskies imagery has been featured in Toronto’s pre-game hype video this season as the franchise pays homage to the 70th anniversary of that first game and the Huskies BAA season. The Huskies are an natural fit with Toronto’s We the North movement, and a husky dog appears in the iconic commercial (0:42 mark) that was unveiled during the 2014 postseason.
The Raptors last wore Huskies alternates during DeMar DeRozan’s rookie season in 2009-2010. The rookie DeRozan that modelled the uniform prior to the game couldn’t have possibly predicted how many things would happen for him and the franchise in the space between those two Huskies throwback nights. From becoming the player with the most wins in franchise history, to representing the team as an All-Star starter when Toronto hosted the first All-Star game held outside of the U.S. to leading the Raptors to the Conference Finals, the DeRozan that slips on a Huskies uniform on Saturday is currently leading the NBA in scoring and has helped to take the team to heights previously unseen.
This year’s Huskies throwbacks are a vibrant blue with white trim around the jerseys and a white waistband with blue accents on the shorts. The lettering has white trim, with a crisp TORONTO across the front.
Saturday’s game against the Knicks kick off the first of six contests this season where the Raptors will don their Huskies uniforms. They will also go blue Thursday December 8 versus the Minnesota Timberwolves, Tuesday January 10 versus the Boston Celtics, Sunday January 15 versus the Knicks a second time, Tuesday March 21 versus the Chicago Bulls and the final game of the regular season on April 7vs the Miami Heat.