More than $2.5 million in new partnerships celebrated at State of the Island

(Fort McMurray, AB, October 19, 2013) – It was a special evening at the Suncor Community Leisure Centre on Saturday night as the region celebrated MacDonald Island Park’s signature ‘orange’ and more than $2.5 million in new partnerships at State of the Island, MacDonald Island Park’s annual black tie gala.

The Nexen Field House and the newly-named Nexen Activity Field House took centre stage at State of the Island, as CNOOC Limited and its wholly-owned subsidiary Nexen Energy ULC delivered four major multi-year partnership announcements before an audience of more than 700 invited guests.

“Nexen has a history of supporting this community and this gift is our first major community investment in the region under CNOOC Limited ownership and it demonstrates our new owner’s commitment to providing the financial support that will continue to build strong, dynamic communities,” said Tony Mankowski, Vice President, Nexen Energy ULC, Long Lake.

Mankowski announced Nexen Energy ULC’s re-commitment to Nexen Field House, of which it has been title partner since 2010. In addition, Nexen Energy ULC is now title partner for the iconic Outdoor Performance Stage, as well as the Activity Field House and a Suite.

Mankowski received a MacDonald Island ‘orange’ jacket as part of the partnership announcements, which also included:

  • SMS Equipment (SMS Stadium)
  • Total E&P Canada (Interpretive Trail)
  • Aluma Systems (Special Event Partner)
  • Shell Albian Sands (Suite and Northern Kickoff presented by Shell Albian Sands)
  • Suncor Energy (Suite and Mi COACH)
  • H. Wilson Industries (Miskanaw Golf Club Cart Path)
  • Fort McKay Group of Companies (Suite)
  • Molson Canadian (Outdoor Rink)
  • Clean Harbors (Party Deck)
  • Clark Riley Construction Management Limited (Club Area)

“We’re honoured and appreciative of the depth of partnership announcements made – and celebrated – at State of the Island,” said Nick Sanders, Chair of the MacDonald Island Park Board of Directors. “Thank you to Nexen Energy ULC and all of the partners that made new commitments in 2013 and to our existing partners that create the foundation of what is possible at MacDonald Island and across our region.”

Following an exquisite array of culinary delights served by MacDonald Island Park’s Hospitality team, The MacDonald Island Park Walk of Honour designation was awarded to two individuals for the first time: Dave Kirschner and Ramona Morrison. Kirschner was inducted by his brother Rick Kirschner in an emotional tribute that saw daughters Katie, Kristy and Patricia accept the award on their father’s behalf, while Morrison was inducted by 2011 Walk of Honour recipient Brian Hatfield and Chef Michael Smith.

Earlier in the evening, Edmonton Eskimo Football Club President and Chief Executive Officer Len Rhodes announced the Northern Kickoff presented by Shell Albian Sands would expand from just over 5,000 seats to 15,000 seats for the June 13, 2015 CFL pre-season game between the host Eskimos and visiting Saskatchewan Roughriders at the new SMS Stadium at Shell Place.

Seat reservations for the Northern Kickoff presented by Shell Albian Sands are now available at or at the MacDonald Island Park Box Office, located on the first floor of the Suncor Community Leisure Centre. Rhodes was joined for the announcement by Northern Kickoff Chair and Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Mayor Melissa Blake, as well as Aluma Systems Vice President Mick Herke.

Dignitaries in attendance included the Honourable Don Scott, Associate Minister of Accountability, Transparency and Transparency and MLA, Fort McMurray-Conklin; Mike Allen, MLA, Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo; and the Master of Ceremonies’ duo of Mark Little, Vice President, Oil Sands, Suncor Energy and Rick Strouse, Vice President of Health, Safety, Security and Environment, Shell Albian Sands.

Mankowski capped his remarks by introducing the special guest for State of the Island: Blue Rodeo lead singer Jim Cuddy, winner of an unprecedented 12 JUNO Awards and member of Canada’s Walk of Fame. Cuddy engaged the audience with timeless classics “Hasn’t Hit Me Yet,” “Try” and “5 Days in May.” Blue Rodeo presented by Country 93.3 FM returns to Nexen Field House on January 16; tickets are now on sale at

Cuddy had the honour of playing a new ‘orange’ baby grand piano as part of the Your Music Maker project. The piano, which will be featured at the new Anzac Community Recreation Centre project, was set against the backdrop of an arts-focused evening that introduced the new Miquwahkesis Project and saw the Alberta Ballet announce a new partnership with the Mi Dance Academy before delivering a performance live on stage.

“What a night at MacDonald Island Park,” said Tim Reid, Chief Operating Officer at MacDonald Island Park. “What we experienced together as a community tonight is the reason this region is the most dynamic one in the country and is filled with tremendous promise. The transition from the ‘Mi Team’ at MacDonald Island to the ‘ONE Team’ approach with the new Regional Recreation Corporation allows us to continue the ‘orange’ MacDonald Island legacy while building new memories, moments and opportunities across our region. Thank you to all of our partners for making State of the Island 2013 one to remember.”

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