Habs’ fans in Renouse, New Brunswick rejoiced in 2019 when the community hosted an NHL pre-season game featuring the Montreal Canadiens as part of Kraft Hockeyville.
Kraft Hockeyville ready for 2021
Published 12:25 PST, Thu January 7, 2021
Last Updated: 2:13 PDT, Wed May 12, 2021
Kraft Hockeyville is celebrating its 15-year legacy of supporting hockey communities in Canada.
Kraft Heinz Canada with nominations for Kraft Hockeyville 2021 and a chance to win an NHL pre-season game and $250,000 in arena upgrades.
In partnership with the National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA), the legacy has helped to break down barriers and encourage participation in Canada’s beloved sport by upgrading local hockey arenas in need of repair and refurbishing. Since its inception, Kraft Hockeyville has awarded $3.8 million to 85 communities across the country.
“For many communities, hockey is more than a sport and being crowned the Kraft Hockeyville champion is more than a title,” says Matt Bruce, senior brand manager at Kraft Heinz Canada. “It represents a passion, a way to connect and feel like their community is part of something bigger. We love seeing that excitement come through every year in the nomination stories, the local and now virtual rallies and the NHL preseason game. The Kraft Hockeyville legacy is a powerful tool to ignite community spirit, which feels more necessary than ever after a challenging year for all Canadians.”
Through the years, Kraft Hockeyville has helped highlight why communities are the heart of hockey. In Terrace, for example, (2009 Kraft Hockeyville Champions) it created a sense of hope in a year when a major employer left the community; in Sylvan Lake, Alta. (2014 Kraft Hockeyville Champions) it renewed optimism when the community was able to secure much-needed funding to kickstart the collapsed local rink’s reconstruction; and in Conception Bay, Nfld. (2011 Kraft Hockeyville Champions) it created a true sense of pride when the local fire department opened their doors to let folks use their phones during the voting period.
Whether it is upgrades to the refrigeration unit to keep the ice frozen, new ramps and elevators to increase accessibility, or making the rink more welcoming for women by building new locker rooms, winning Kraft Hockeyville has helped communities overcome various barriers to strengthen and enhance community hockey.
“Before we won Kraft Hockeyville, women playing in our arena had to change into their gear in the bathrooms,” says Rhonda Catt one of the nominators behind Lumby’s successful 2016 bid. “After the renovations, we were able to put in new locker rooms, which has made our rink a much more inclusive space for girls and women of all ages.”
Communities looking to get in on the action should submit their nomination story online at krafthockeyville.ca before Feb. 14 at 11:59 p.m. EST. The 2021 grand prize winner will have an opportunity to host an NHL® preseason game and receive $250,000 to be used towards necessary arena upgrades, as well as the coveted title of Kraft Hockeyville 2021. This year’s winner and each of the three-runner up communities will also receive $10,000 to purchase new hockey equipment for their minor hockey programs, courtesy of the NHLPA Goals & Dreams fund.
While the goal of Kraft Hockeyville has always been to bring communities together, the health and safety of participants and communities continues to be a top priority. Kraft Hockeyville reminds all Canadians to continue to adhere to all COVID-19 health and safety protocols that may be required or recommended by federal, provincial or local authorities in their respective jurisdictions, which may include social distancing guidelines, limitations on large gatherings, and mask wearing.