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
"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.