The Maple Leafs have announced their partner for their first-ever sponsor patch on their game jerseys, and the news so far haven’t been as controversial as the announcement the Canadiens made last week.
The Leafs jersey will feature a “Milk” patch from the Dairy Farmers of Ontario on the right, upper chest-shoulder area, the club announced Tuesday on the eve of the start of training camp.
The Leafs said they have entered a multi-year partnership with the farmers’ organization to “support healthy active living, community programming and access to hockey for players and fans everywhere.”
Leaf fans will see the players wearing the jerseys in a game for the first time when the team opens its pre-season schedule this weekend against Ottawa (the Leafs and Senators play a doubleheader at the Scotiabank Arena at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.)
The farmers’ group has pledged 5,000 tickets to Saturday’s games to community youth groups, and to “young fans who might not otherwise have an opportunity to attend Maple Leafs games.”
The NHL opened the door to branding deals for all its teams this season.
Both the Leafs and Canadiens will be sporting jersey patches for the first time in their respective histories, but some fans in Montreal argue that the team’s “sacred” jersey should not be linked to for-profit branding.
The Canadiens unveiled their RBC patch last week, and were immediately met with unfavourable reviews. Greenpeace Quebec stated its disapproval, based on research they said showed RBC as the world’s fifth largest investor in fossil fuels.
RBC pledged to donate $20, from every jersey sold, to the Canadiens’ Children’s Foundation, but Greenpeace asked anyone purchasing the new jersey to black out the RBC logo.
Leafs legend Doug Gilmour appeared in a milk commercial — to favourable reviews — back when he captained the team in the 1990s.
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