The annual Kraft Hockeyville contest is now underway, and this year, there’s a local arena to cheer on.
Tonya Lynch, director of sponsorship and community engagement for the Ridge Meadows Minor Hockey Association, said that this is the first time that the group has made an organized effort to participate in the annual challenge. And now that they have entered the contest, they’re looking for community support.
“We want people to tell their personal stories about our hockey community,” said Lynch.
This yearly event pits Canadian arenas against one another in a popularity contest to see who will win the grand prize of $250,000 for arena upgrades.
Planet Ice in Maple Ridge serves as the home arena for the Ridge Meadows Minor Hockey Association. It originally opened in 1998 and provides combined seating across its two rinks for up to 1,325 spectators.
The addition of a new sheet of ice, change rooms, offices, fitness space, and a second-level viewing area was recently announced as part of a $25 million upgrade to the Maple Ridge arena, but RMMHA general manager Jordan Emmerson said that these changes are still years away and the $250,000 grand prize could do a lot of good in the meantime.
“The prize money would be for more immediate upgrades to the rink,” said Emmerson. “We want to enhance the fan experience. The arena is such a hub for the community.”
In addition to the sizeable cash prize, Planet Ice would also be the host an NHL pre-season game in 2024 if it is declared the winner of the contest.
But before any of that can happen, the local arena needs to be selected as one of the top four entries, who then move on to public voting.
“To get past this first phase, we need to generate some buzz,” said Emmerson.
“We’ve got a great hockey community and culture that was established by our past volunteers and members, and we want to continue to celebrate it by winning this contest and improving our arena.”
Take this 2 minute challenge and visit our Kraft Hockeyville rally page for Planet Ice Maple Ridge and upload 5 of your favorite Rustler moments on or off the ice! Let's show Kraft that Ridge Meadows deserves the title of Hockeyville 2023! https://t.co/s6EEzHSLSD pic.twitter.com/763GLvriyO— Ridge Meadows Hockey (@RustlersHockey) February 3, 2023
There are a few different ways that people can help RMMHA’s home arena make it to the final four:
• Posting a nomination story on the Kraft Hockeyville website (10 points)
• Sharing the Planet Ice rally page on Twitter using the official share button (5 points)
• Add photos of the arena (3 points)
• Add a note about the arena (1 point)
• React to other posts on the rally page with emojis (1 point)
This nomination period will continue until Feb. 19, after which no further points can be earned for an arena. A panel of judges will then go through all of the nominated arenas and select which four will move on to the public voting phase.
The top four entries will be announced on Mar. 11, with public voting starting on Mar. 31.
There are already several nominations for Planet Ice Maple Ridge, with people sharing various reasons as to why the arena is so deserving of the grand prize.
“Planet Ice is the heart of the Ridge Meadows community,” said one local named Angela F. “Our Maple Ridge Flames hit the ice and they’re surrounded by young kids aspiring to be them one day. The arena may be the bones, but the spirit that radiates the dressing rooms and transcends to the stands is uncanny.”
“RMMHA is one of the largest hockey associations in all of B.C. with the least amount of sheets of ice available to our players,” explained another poster named Sabriena E.
“This $250,000 would give us the opportunity to allow our extremely outdated arena to grow with our ever-growing association. Ideally, adding in a third sheet of ice with proper spectator stands. Not only would this be a huge added benefit to our association, gaining a third sheet of ice, but I think it would be a huge benefit to the players’ confidence knowing they are skating on the same ice that two NHL teams have played on.”
More information about the contest is available at https://hockeyville.kraftcanada.ca/.
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