Add the Molson Centre, the hockey home of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Colts, to the growing list of public facilities in Barrie looking for a new name.
At the end of 2018, the current agreement between the city and Molson Coors will expire, and the brewer has already indicated they have no desire to work out another deal. That means the search is on to find a new sponsor for Barrie’s largest community centre, one that could add a few million dollars to city coffers in exchange for affixing their name to the big rink.
A report, that will go to council later this month, recommends city staff begin the search for naming rights which could, ultimately, get added to a pool of other names that has fallen under Barrie’s new sponsorship pilot program. Under the program, an outside organization, Cosmos Sports & Entertainment of Mississauga, has been hired to look for sponsorships and name deals for other Barrie facilities and projects such as Holly Recreation Centre, Lampman Lane Splashpad, Celebrate Barrie Festival, Winterfest and other city-run events.
By far, the Molson Centre is the big ticket item in the inventory as it is the home of the OHL Colts and has also played host to rock concerts, trade shows and carnivals. The centre has even served as the training camp for both the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Raptors as well as accommodating world-class skating and curling events.
Molson has been connected to Barrie since 1974 when it took over the former Formosa Spring Brewery near Highway 400 and Essa Rd. It subsequently opened up Molson Park which played host to several outdoor musical festivals right up until 2005. The company eventually sold off the land and a portion was given to Barrie in 1994 for its new sports facility in exchange for the right for it to bear the Molson brand.