Sep 16, 2011 at 12:45 PM
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Maple Leafs Become Latest NHL Team With Practice Jersey Sponsorship

The Toronto Maple Leafs will become the latest NHL team to launch a practice jersey sponsorship this morning when the club debuts an expanded partnership with shipping and courier service Purolator, according to the Toronto Star. Headquartered in Ontario, Purolator has been the Official Courier of the Toronto Maple Leafs since 2005.

From Manchester United to the NFL, practice jersey patches have become a relatively new, but common piece of sponsorship inventory. Nevertheless, the Leafs' low seven-figure deal represents a slippery slope for some NHL fans.

"This is the dangerous ground the NHL must now contemplate crossing while balancing several clubs in dangerous financial decline in one hand, and tradition in the other," Cathal Kelly of the Toronto Star writes. "History has generally shown that, in that fight, money wins."

Since the NHL loosened its stance on practice jersey sponsorship, the Calgary Flames, Chicago Blackhawks, Vancouver Canucks and Detroit Red Wings have secured practice jersey deals.

The league's latest entry is also the official courier of the Canadian Football League, Toronto Raptors, MLS' Toronto FC, Hockey Canada, the AHL's Toronto Marlies, Halifax Metro Centre and the CHL's Halifax Mooseheads.