Eagle River awarded second place in national competition
Story and photos by Lori Adler, reporter
Eagle River Recreation Association (ERRA) recently celebrated placing second in the Kraft Heinz Hockeyville 2019 competition, a nationwide contest that awards money to community hockey programs.
Hockeyville USA is a joint program between Kraft Heinz and the NHL (National Hockey League) to celebrate the love of the sport as well as support community hockey programs. Eagle River Sports Arena was just one spot away from the top and received $30,000 to use toward rink upgrades. Tuesday, the community, youth hockey players and families as well as ERRA board members celebrated their success at Eagle River Sports Arena and were presented with a check from Kraft Heinz.
ERRA board member Tony Brown said, “Kraft Hockeyville started back in 2006 up in Canada, and since then they’ve been about to donate $5 million in rink improvements across Canada and the U.S., and about 150 communities have improved their ice arenas.”
The contest, however, is not an easy one. It begins each January when communities are nominated by submitting a story about their town and their hockey program. Then community members and hockey families can rally support for their towns and programs by posting pictures, comments, and historical perspectives on the Hockeyville USA website. In March, the top four finalists are announced, and voting takes place. Communities are judged on their submitted story and their online rallying efforts.
As the award was being presented Tuesday, Brown stated, “As everybody knows, we participated in this year’s Kraft Hockeyville, and there were over 2000 participants, and our little community made it to the top four with votes all over the country, and I know people were out of the country making some voting, and we made it to second place. Our friends to the north up in Calumet, congratulations to them, they came in first place (the grand prize); they will get the $150,000. We are the second runner-up, and we will receive $30,000 from Kraft that we will put towards our ‘Save the Dome’ fundraising fund.”
In addition to the Hockeyville USA award, Eagle River Recreation Association has also been awarded $10,000 in new hockey equipment by the NHL Players Association (NHLPA) Goals and Dreams program. The NHLPA donates brand-new equipment to youth hockey programs so cost is not a barrier if a child wishes to play the sport. The new equipment is expected to arrive in the next couple of months.