Ontario dairy farmers partner with Leafs, Sens, Raptors, Argos; invest over $1.5-million in youth sport

OTTAWA — Like a glass of cold milk, Sens and Leafs fans might be in mutual agreement on the goodness of this one.

Setting aside team rivalries for a good cause, DFO has partnered with both the Ottawa Senators and Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) — which includes the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto FC, and Toronto Argonauts — as part of a multi-year commitment to making sports more accessible for young Ontario athletes. In addition to promoting the proven benefits of milk, the partnerships will focus on advancing grassroots and community sport initiatives and developing new sporting events and opportunities for youth at the community level.

DFO — short for the Dairy Farmers of Ontario — will work with both the Ottawa Senators and MLSE on custom pro and grassroots activations, promotions, and youth engagement opportunities to fully integrate sports, healthy lifestyle education, and food literacy activities in the community. Beyond partnership and promotion, all three organizations are committed to bringing real and meaningful sport and engagement opportunities to their fans and communities.

Ralph Dietrich, DFO Chair, says “the partnership perfectly integrates with the values and efforts of Ontario dairy farmers in their local communities. The campaign is a grassroots effort that brings local communities together around a common vision: healthy, active lifestyles and opportunities for youth. This is something Ontario dairy farmers believe in and something the partnership with the Ottawa Senators and MLSE can help us build on.”

Graham Lloyd, DFO General Manager and CEO, has played hockey his whole life and continues to play and coach up to this day. “I’ve seen personally both the need and the benefits of reducing barriers to entry for sport for young people, and the positive effects of sport experiences that last a lifetime. DFO is proud to partner with the Ottawa Senators and MLSE to extend our common perspective and we look forward to working together to help get more kids into sport, while recognizing a healthy, nutritious lifestyle with dairy. There is so much beyond partnership we can do together as a provincial team.”

“We are delighted to become a Dairy Farmers of Ontario Partner,” said Mark Bonneau, Ottawa Senators senior vice-president, corporate sales. “Whether through our Sensplex programs or our broader community engagement, improving accessibility to sport for youth in the National Capital region is our top priority. This partnership puts us in the best possible position to sharpen that focus.”

”MLSE strives to enhance the fan experience in and outside the arena through strategic and engaging partnerships,” says Jeff Deline, Senior Vice President of Global Partnerships. “Our work with Dairy Farmers of Ontario will help us reach our young fans through sport initiatives and create a new generation of athletes.”

Planned activations of DFO’s Recharge With Milk (www.RechargeWithMilk.ca) and Stay Real With Milk banners with the Ottawa Senators will promote milk as part of a highly effective component of a healthy and athletic lifestyle, and will include special segments with the Ottawa Senators’ Strength and Conditioning Coach, Chris Schwarz, in-stadium and in-game promotions and activations, support for the Bell Capital Cup tournament, Fanfest event support, and in-stadia culinary activations.

The DFO-MLSE program will feature in-game events and promotions, new and ground-breaking original content, and efforts at integrating resources to introduce new youth tournaments to Ontario and help amplify exciting MLSE grassroots basketball and soccer events. In-stadium signage will also be visible at Maple Leafs, Raptors, Toronto FC, and Toronto Argonauts games.

A provincially mandated producer group regulating Ontario’s supply-managed dairy farmers, DFO was previously known as the Milk Marketing Board of Ontario.

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