After five years of being known as the Leon’s Centre, the naming rights for Kingston’s downtown arena have been made official.
The arena will be known as “Slush Puppie Place,” taking the namesake of the frozen beverage company after their 15-year bid.
McKercher Kingston Ltd. who owned the previous “Leon’s Centre” naming rights declined to extend their agreement past its June 25, 2023, expiration, but agreed to keep the name in place until a new sponsor was determined.
Slush Puppie Canada Inc. will pay $135,000 per year for a total of $2,025,000 over the course of 15 years.
Slush Puppie will acquire signage rights, family events, advertising, and social media presence as part of the deal, but certain elements from the previous deal are not involved, including the use of suites and the option to use the facility up to 12 times per year.
On Tuesday, Dec, 19, 2023, Kingston City Councillors voted unanimously for the name change to be approved, and Mayor Paterson’s declaration that Slush Puppie Place is official was met with some applause. The city did not have a wide breadth of options to sift through, as Slush Puppie Canada Inc. was the only official submission received through the city’s call for proposals.
Slush Puppie Canada Inc. also owns “Centre Slush Puppie” in Gatineau, where the Gatineau Olympiques play.
Slush Puppie’s Vice President of Sales Scott Drouillard said that the company has had such a great experience with the community and the Olympiques that they were motivated to partner with another community and major junior hockey team, calling it was a “natural fit.”
“We knew the city has such a rich history, a hockey, university, and armed forces town with great tourism. The potential to be involved with that was exciting for everyone at Slush Puppie Canada,” Drouillard said.
“The Frontenacs certainly offer a family friendly product and that’s something our brand has long been invested in. Physical activity, sport, family-focused activities are all buckets we like to be involved in and the Frontenacs have all of that in abundance.”
Drouillard said that with the company entering into the community for the long haul, they plan to ingratiate themselves and invest in community events.
“Slush Puppie can be a partner to the city and community that will work closely in investing in family-friendly activities, youth initiatives, and physical activity. Making a 15-year commitment in the naming rights of Slush Puppie Place is, of course, one way of doing that, and it provides a platform of stability to build off of.”
The company will officially take over the naming rights as of Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024, with the contract set to run until 2039.
Owen Fullerton is a Kingston-based reporter with the Local Journalism Initiative (LJI).