Victoria Skating Rink in downtown Montreal represents a historic site, recognized in 2002 as the birthplace of organized hockey, yet the former arena has been replaced by a parking lot for decades — until now.
Last week a hockey rink appeared on the lot as former NHL defenceman Patrice Brisebois welcomed the public for a free day of skating to celebrate the return of Kraft Hockeyville, and to illustrate the importance of funding and maintaining local rinks in Canada.
A recent survey commissioned by Kraft Canada reveals the majority (91 per cent) of Canadian hockey parents agree their local rink is the social hub of their community, yet two-thirds say these arenas are in need of repairs or upgrades. Over 90 per cent of those surveyed say their overall community would be negatively impacted if their rink were to close due to disrepair.
“Local rinks are at the heart of Canadian communities, but we may run the risk of losing many of these precious centres if they are not repaired or restored for future generations,” said Jack Hewitt, vice president of marketing insight and services, Kraft Canada.
“Kraft Hockeyville engages Canadians to preserve the spirit and passion for hockey across the nation, and that passion starts at the home rink.”
This year there is an even bigger opportunity for Canada’s communities to breathe new life into their local rinks through Kraft Hockeyville 2014, in partnership with the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA). The program is back and bigger than ever, awarding a total of $1 million in prizing to 16 different communities, including:
• One grand prize of $100,000 in arena upgrades and a broadcast NHL pre-season game played in the local community
• One prize of $100,000 in arena upgrades
• Two prizes of $50,000 each in arena upgrades for third and fourth place
• Twelve prizes of $25,000 each in arena upgrades
Canadian communities are invited to start preparing their submissions to vie for the title of Kraft Hockeyville 2014 with the nomination period opening Jan. 1, 2014. Submissions will be accepted until Feb. 9. For contest rules and complete program details, please visit KraftHockeyville.ca.