Sarnia Sting inks deal with Imperial for hockey club’s 25th season

Evidence of new partnership will be hard to miss, both in the arena and off ice

Sarnia Sting president Bill Abercrombie, left, is pictured with Andrew Mitton, technical manager at Imperial Sarnia. A partnership with the Sting in the hockey club's 25th season was announced on Tuesday morning. Photo: J.D. Booth/Lambton Shield.

The Sarnia Sting Hockey Club, the Ontario Hockey League franchise that is celebrating its 25th year in the upcoming season, is partnering with Imperial, one of the nation’s most visible resource-based firms and a significant industry player in the Sting’s hometown.

In an announcement that took place at Imperial’s Research facility near its Sarnia refinery operations on Tuesday morning, representatives from the Sting and Imperial unveiled the hockey club’s 25th season logo to a group of employees and media, including Lambton Shield.

Leigh Cunningham, the Sting’s on-air play-by-play announcer, introduced executives one by one, starting with the Sting’s Geoffrey Hare, vice-president of corporate partnerships and marketing.

Hare, who is a recent addition to the Sting organization (his LinkedIn profile has his most recent job as director of marketing for the London Knights Hockey Club) said discussions with Imperial had begun in late January/early February but came together fairly quickly. Officials declined to disclose the total value of the investment but Hare called it a “very healthy” agreement for both parties.

Sting president Bill Abercrombie said the partnership will carry over not just to game day at the Progressive Auto Sales Arena but throughout the season in support of various Sting events and initiatives. Those include a breakfast program for school children, “Skate with the Sting” events and a Family Day event that both the Sting and Imperial Sarnia say will help renew a community focus for the hockey club.

Pictured in a ceremonial sweater presentation on Tuesday are, from left, Andrew Mitton, Imperial’s technical manager in Sarnia, Sting co-owner David Legwand, and Sting president Bill Abercrombie. Photo: J.D. Booth/Lambton Shield

“We always try to build a strong team on the ice, that’s our goal every year,” said Abercrombie. “But it’s also important to have a strong team off the ice as well. and with Imperial Sarnia we have one of the well known and respected businesses, one that has been a pillar of our community for decades. We couldn’t be more excited to bring them on and we look forward to a long and successful relationship between the two organizations.

Andrew Mitton, Imperial’s technical manager in Sarnia, said Imperial was “thrilled” with the partnership.

“We see this as being an excellent opportunity for Imperial to build on our 120-year history in the Sarnia Lambton community,” said Mitton. “The Esso brand is synonymous with hockey in Canada and we see this partnership as being a natural fit for our company.”

Mitton added that many of the firm’s 700 employees in Sarnia are themselves Sting fans and many attend the games.

“The calibre of hockey we’ve seen lately has been outstanding,” he said. “The community pride that drives us has been incredible to watch and we’re all looking forward to another great season.”

Mitton said he was especially excited about the community components of the partnership with the Sting.

“As a parent, I understand the importance of giving our youth positive role models and this program does that,” he said.

The next big Sting event is its annual Black & White intrasquad game on August 29 at 7:05 p.m. The event is a fundraiser for the United Way of Sarnia-Lambton.

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