SAINT JOHN – “We’re going to have this place dressed in green, every day is going to be St. Patrick’s Day in Saint John,” quipped Frank McKenna as he announced in a public ceremony Wednesday that TD Bank Group, with its signature green logo, had acquired the naming rights to Harbour Station.
As part of a five-year sponsorship agreement, Harbour Station will be renamed and an official announcement of the new name will come at a later date. The bank will also host minor hockey practices with the Saint John Sea Dogs and elevate the in-game experience with music events.
McKenna says the sponsorship with the Sea Dogs and Harbour Station is a reflection of the bank’s commitment to the city and his personal connection that goes back to his childhood.
“Saint John is a suburb of where I grew up, Apahoqui,” he joked. “I played hockey at the Beaverbrook [arena], played against all of the high school teams here, every sport imaginable. I was here every weekend, and I fell in love with the city.
“I love the gritty, brawling character, the never give up, can-do attitude of the city. It’s something that everyone who comes here falls in love with. It has enormous character, and as a bank, we see that character.”
TD employs nearly 1,000 people at its centre on Rothesay Avenue.
In 1993, then-premier McKenna was on hand for the opening of Harbour Station. Two weeks later, he was in Saint John again with Ed Clark, then CEO of TD Canada Trust, to announce they would open the Saint John centre.
“We started with 54 people and we’ll end up with 1,000 people here, so you can imagine what our sponsorship of this team means,” said McKenna. “It means that in five or 10 years from now, you’re going to be looking at an NHL team in Saint John.
“We are a bank with great ambition and we think we are associating with an organization with great ambition.”
Scott McCain, CEO of the Sea Dogs, says they’ve been working on this deal for about four years now.
“TD is going to be an incredible sponsor, an incredible partner with us in the community,” said McCain. “It’s an honour to have somebody (McKenna) with that national presence come to Saint John. There are [nearly 1,000 TD] jobs in Saint John and it’s a strong indication from TD that it wants to make a statement. They want to be part of New Brunswick, part of Saint John. We’re really pleased and honoured that they took the time to make this happen.”
The sponsorship announcement coincides with the launch of the Sea Dogs training camp Wednesday.