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Eyes on the Prize: Lessons from last year’s Kraft Hockeyville champions

Jan 07 2020

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Renous, NB, Lucan, ON, O’Leary, PEI. Can you point these communities out on a map? They may not be household names to many, but they are three of 13 Canadian communities who have won the coveted title of Kraft Hockeyville.  

While hockey brings together many Canadian communities, maintaining arenas can be costly. According to the 2019 Canadian Infrastructure Report Card, one in three recreational or cultural facilities will require investment in the next decade. The category with the most facilities in poor or very poor conditions, or fair conditions requiring investment, is hockey arenas.

Nominate your community at krafthockeyville.ca today.

Lessons from past winners 

Just ask Renous, New Brunswick. With a population of about 1,000 residents, the community came together to support Tom Donovan Arena to upgrade their outdated facility in memory of Thomas Dunn, a local hockey player who had recently passed away at the age of 14. After being named Kraft Hockeyville 2019, Renous was able to make the necessary upgrades to the Tom Donavan Arena that will ensure local community members can enjoy the rink for generations to come. 

It wasn’t an easy undertaking for Nancy Sturgeon, who helped lead the nomination for Renous. Nancy and her team were tasked with rallying together the community. “It started with a small Facebook group of 20 people,” noted Nancy Sturgeon, “That turned into 1,000 followers overnight! The Facebook group wasn’t just a platform to rally the community for Kraft Hockeyville, but also acted as a space to remember Thomas Dunn and the mark he made on so many peoples’ lives.” 

That was only the beginning. Nancy and her team reached out to previous Kraft Hockeyville winners to find out how they could set Renous apart from other communities. Quickly the broader community got on board, and local rallies, alumni hockey games, and the regional trending hashtag #NeverDunn were the true talk of the town. Word of the nomination was quickly spreading to communities across the province. The nomination team was even present at a municipal government meeting to rally support of mayors from across New Brunswick. 

People all over the province were taking note of Renous. Regional broadcast and radio media were talking about the nomination. The Facebook group grew to 13,000 followers. It was no surprise Renous found their way into the final four. 

To seal the victory, Renous rallied the community once more, setting up voting stations at the local community centre for residents to cast their Kraft Hockeyville vote. Their story went on to touch the hearts of Canadians from coast-to-coast, and deservedly so, Renous was named Kraft Hockeyville 2019. 

How can your community stand out? 

If you’re looking to nominate your community for Kraft Hockeyville 2020, the Renous nomination team has some tips to help set your nomination apart from the rest. 

  1. Read the contest guidelines at krafthockeyville.ca  to nominate your community and better understand what you can do to set your community apart. For example, your community can earn rally points for sharing a Kraft Hockeyville Tweet, or adding and reacting to nomination photos or videos. 

  2. Check in with past winners for advice on how to rally your community and earn rally points. Hint: Nancy Sturgeon is waiting for your Facebook message. 

  3. Appoint community team captains. Ensuring clear lines of responsibility will help make sure that nominations are in on time. 

  4. Get everyone involved! Whether that’s kids, teens, parents, or seniors, everyone can play a part in making your nomination special. Do you know a digital marketer? Use them for social media. Do you know an event organizer? Use them as a project manager for a rally. Use the assets in your community to help bring the community together. 

  5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! If you have any questions about the nomination or what you can do to help rally your community, reach out to the Kraft Hockeyville team on Facebook for more information or visit their website.

Keep your eyes on the prize 

1. The 2020 grand prize winner will have an opportunity to host an NHL® Pre-season Game, receive $250,000 towards arena upgrades along with the coveted title of Kraft Hockeyville 2020. Last year, Renous hosted the Montreal Canadiens® and Florida Panthers® in a spirited matchup that ended in a 4-3 victory for the Canadiens. 

2. Three additional community finalists will also be selected and awarded $25,000 for arena upgrades, while each of the final four will receive $10,000 in brand new hockey equipment for their minor hockey programs, courtesy of the NHLPA Goals & Dreams Fund. 

You don’t have to win to make a positive impact on your community. Nancy Sturgeon and the Renous nomination team used Kraft Hockeyville to bring the community together and heal after the loss of Thomas Dunn. Their efforts led to over $750,000 in grants in addition to the $250,000 the community won from Kraft Hockeyville for arena upgrades. Needless to say, the impact of Kraft Hockeyville on the community extended well beyond the winnings.  

How can you nominate your community? 

Nominations are now open for Kraft Hockeyville 2020 and will close on February 9 at 11:59 p.m. ET. The nomination period is the key time to tell your community’s story about its passion for hockey. 

Canada is hockey, and if you’re looking for a reason to remind the world why, this is it. Nominate your community at krafthockeyville.ca today. 

NHL and the NHL Shield are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. NHL and NHL team marks are the property of the NHL and its teams. © NHL 2019.  All Rights Reserved.

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