By Joel van der Veen
DAVIDSON — After more than two decades, Davidson’s rink is beginning a new season with a new name — and a long-term influx of cash.
AGT Food and Ingredients — headed by Davidson native Murad Al-Katib — has reached a sponsorship agreement with the town.
The company will contribute $15,000 annually towards the rink for the next 15 years, for a total of $225,000.
As part of the agreement, AGT has secured naming rights to the Davidson Communiplex, which will now become known as the AGT Centre.
Al-Katib announced the deal Wednesday in Davidson during a customer appreciation dinner held in the Sacred Heart Parish Hall, with roughly 85 people in attendance.
He confirmed the news in a Twitter post that night, which read in part, “Be proud of your hometown. A big part of who you are.”
Al-Katib is the president and CEO of AGT Foods, which distributes lentils, chickpeas and other crops to more than 120 countries internationally.
Speaking to the Leader on Friday, Al-Katib said the company has previously contributed to facilities in other towns, including Rosetown, Wilkie and Eston.
“Davidson’s a very important community for us, not only in terms of business,” he said. “It’s my hometown.”
While arenas and sports facilities often serve as community hubs, small towns often struggle to cover the costs of operating and maintaining their rinks.
Al-Katib said he believes it’s important and valuable to ensure such facilities can remain viable.
“That’s pretty exciting for us,” he said. “We want to be a part of that.”
He also said he’s pleased to see the growth happening in Davidson, as evidenced by larger classes at the school and the continued popularity of minor sports here.