Naming rights to Messier, Murray arenas on market

Updated: July 30, 2006, 7:31 PM ET
Associated Press

ST. ALBERT, Alberta -- Mark Messier and Troy Murray may have won Stanley Cups and a host of individual awards in their hockey careers.

But their names may soon be taken off rinks named in their honor in the town where they both began their careers. The city of St. Albert, which is just north of Edmonton, is selling the naming rights to the Mark Messier and Troy Murray arenas.

In 1992, the city named the facilities to honor Messier and Murray, the players who once lived there and played for the now-defunct St. Albert Saints junior hockey team.

Betty Murray, Troy's mother, said she understands the need to raise revenue, but added the family never asked for the honor in the first place.

"It just seems like if you name something, should you take it away? I know it's a money thing," she said.

"I thought it was very tacky myself. It's like in a few years, are they going to take Wayne Gretzky Drive away and rename it something else?" she said, referring to a freeway in Edmonton.

Naming rights for both arenas will help pay the costs of a $42.7-million multipurpose leisure center. It will incorporate the two rinks along with a new, third arena.

The center itself, which is to open in the fall, will be named after a yet-to-be announced sponsor.

Colleen Lathan, development manager for the facility, said the city honored the players before selling naming rights became commonplace.

"Our taxes in St. Albert went up and we're trying to find ways in which to lessen that burden and this is one way that can help the majority of people," she said.

Befitting his status, Messier seems to be worth more -- the city is asking a base price of $200,000 for the Mark Messier Arena and $125,000 for the Troy Murray Arena, for five-year terms.

There are no takers so far.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press