Two Alberta communities are among the 10 finalists in Kraft Hockeyville’s arena upgrade contest.
The Neyaskweyahk Arena in Maskwacis and the Didsbury Memorial Complex are in the running to take home the grand prize of hosting an NHL pre-season game, $100,000 for arena upgrades and the title of Kraft Hockeyville.
With the winnings, the Neyaskweyahk Arena would make improvements to give spectators and players a better experience as the community grows stronger. The arena was forced to shut down last year, but has since reopened.
“Like all parents across Canada, we want our kids to make healthy choices… to grow to be successful, to pursue their goals and live their purpose,” the community’s video submission explained. “We all worry about the potential risks and influences out there. It’s a very deep concern here for many parents.
“That’s why hockey is not only essential for many of our youth, it can prove to be a defining factor on the outcomes for many young lives here in our community.”
Maskwacis is located about 95 kilometres south of Edmonton and is home to four First Nations, including Ermineskin Cree Nation.
The Didsbury Memorial Complex wants to upgrade the arena to make a safer and more engaging community.
“The current boards have been in place for decades and are worn out, and are at risk of becoming a safety issue to our users in the future,” the community’s submission reads. “The $100,000 from Kraft would be used to replace our main ice boards to ensure that we remain a safe place for all ages to play and enjoy hockey.
“Thousands of people use the Didsbury Memorial Complex each month and it is important that it remain at the heart of the community.”
Didsbury is a town in central Alberta, roughly 80 kilometres south of Red Deer. It has a population of just over 5,200.
Watch below: Kraft Hockeyville Contest – Neyaskweyahk Arena
A total of 2,946 community arenas were nominated, representing 41 per cent of all arenas across Canada.
In the west, the other three under consideration are in Courtenay, B.C., Ituna, Sask. and Wilkie, Sask.
In the east, the finalists are in Cobden, Ont., Collingwood, Ont., Saint-Ambroise, Que., O’Leary, PEI and Bay Roberts, Nfld.
On March 12 at 9 a.m. EST, Canadians can vote for their favourite community online. The top 10 voting phase will close at 11:59 p.m. EST on March 13. The two communities that receive the most votes in each region will advance to the final round of voting, which will run from 9 a.m. EST on March 19 to 11:59 p.m. EST on March 20.
The grand prize winner will be announced on April 1.
The second place community will receive $100,000 in arena upgrades. The remaining eight communities will receive $25,000.