2006: Salmon River, Nova Scotia
Salmon River, Nova Scotia, an unincorporated community near Truro, Nova Scotia, was crowned the Kraft Hockeyville champion on June 11, 2006. The announcement was late compared to previous years, but then again, Hockeyville was in its first year and it was only launched in January. In all, 50 communities entered and in the final round Salmon River upset Smithers, British Columbia, Airdrie, Alberta and Barry's Bay, Ontario.
The Nova Scotian community, population 2,000, received $50,000 in arena upgrades, $10,000 of hockey equipment and, of course, the ultimate prize of a pre-season game between the Ottawa Senators and the Montreal Canadiens.
The Deuville rink in Salmon River rink was, in fact, a privately owned rink created by resident Webb Deuville in 1958. It started off as an outdoor playing surface and didn't get a roof until 1989. The ice continued to be taken care of by Mother Nature, until 1997 when artificial ice making equipment was added. The rink is literally attached to Deuvile's home where he could watch over his arena through his kitchen window.
With the prize money from 2006, new lights were installed, a heated sitting area was installed, the roof was re-shingled and a memorabilia room, mostly dedicated to Kraft Hockeyville, was created.
The Deuville Rink was too small to host an NHL game, so the match was held in nearby Truro on Sept. 25. The Canadiens came away with a commanding 7-3 victory of the Senators.
2007: North Bay, Ontario
North Bay Ontario, population 53,000, was the home of Kraft Hockeyville 2007. It defeated Cornwall, Ontario, Warner, Alberta, Smithers, British Columbia, and Noelville, Ontario for the ultimate prize.
With its $50,000 prize money, the North Bay arena, the Memorial Gardens, got an electronic message board outside the rink and started on some repairs. The Hockeyville crown was a catalyst for a whole host of improvements to the rink as the city invested close to $2 million in the two years following the victory.
A year after their win, in 2008, Chris Dawson, who initially entered North Bay into the competition spoke to NHL.com about Kraft Hockeyville.
"It's like a community Stanley Cup," Dawson said. "For a hockey event like this, every person who sat down and clicked a vote for North Bay was part of the victory. I always try to spin it off that way. It's the ultimate community sports championship."
Memorial Gardens hosted the Atlanta Thrashers and the New York Islanders on Sept. 17. The Thrashers defeated the Isles in a thrilling 4-3 overtime victory on a goal by Garnet Exelby.
2008: Roberval, Quebec
Roberval Quebec won the 2008 Kraft Hockeyville competition. Located on the shores of Lac Saint-Jean, Roberval defeated Port aux Basques, Newfoundland, Kingsville, Ontario, Wilcox, Saskatchewan and Pilot Mound, Manitoba for the crown.
The prize money increased to $100,000 in 2008 and the town put in another $200,000 of its own money in preparation for the game. The Benoit Levesque Arena got new boards and new glass, renovated their dressing rooms and painted every nook and cranny. The runners-up in the top five also got rewarded for their hard work in 2008 with a $20,000 prize for arena improvements.
Hockeyville sign - Roberval Quebec (Getty Images)
Roberval hosted the Canadiens and Sabres on Sept. 23 and on this day if you weren't one of the 1,200 to get a ticket, it was still OK as a giant screen was set up in the parking lot for the rest of the town. Neighbors of the rink sat on their rooftops to watch the Canadiens take a 3-2 win over the Sabres with Tomas Plekanec having scored two goals.
Despite the loss, the Sabres were equally as happy to be part of the event.
"It was fun to be a part of," Sabres right wing Jason Pominville told NHL.com. "Me and Patty (Lalime) were able to go a school today after the pre-game skate, and just being able to see the kids with a smile on their face just made our day. It was a fun event to be a part of. If they ever did it again, I'd be the first to come back."
Little did Pominville know at the time that he'd be coming back to Kraft Hockeyville this season.
2009: Terrace, British Columbia
Terrace BC saw Kraft Hockeyville come west for the first time. The town received a record 1,923,456 of votes to edge Humboldt, Saskatchewan, Woolwich, Ontario, Thetford Mines, Quebec, and Harbour Grace, Newfoundland. The runners-up each received $25,000 towards arena upgrades.
Terrace abuzz for Hockeyville (Getty Images)
Thousands also came out to see the Stanley Cup and just as with previous years hockey and officials clinics were held and there were visits to local schools and hospitals.
Cliff Ronning, who spent six seasons with both the Canucks and the Isles, was one of four NHL alumni to come to Terrace. The B.C. native was thrilled to be Terrace.
"This is great," Ronning told NHL.com in 2009 after showing a group of kids the ropes at Terrace Sportsplex. "B.C. gets a chance to host it. It's definitely something that's Canadian-wide. You're pretty proud to be a Canadian. Being from B.C., they've done a really good job here in Terrace. Just going down the street and seeing all the signs in the windows, they're really excited."
2010: Dundas Ontario
Dundas Ontario, population 24,700 and part of the City of Hamilton, was this year's Kraft Hockeyville winner. The community defeated Bishop's Falls, Newfoundland, Cranbrook, British Columbia, Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia and Stanstead, Quebec.
Playing on the Kraft theme, Dundas bowered the Canadian Kraft Dinner, "Gotta be KD" slogan and won their bid with a "Gotta Be Dundas" campaign.
On Tuesday Sept. 28 the J.L. Grightmire Arena will host the Buffalo Sabres and the Ottawa Senators for their preseason game. The arena's been painted, the broadcast lights have been installed and the new sound system just went up this week.
This year, there's also a new clinic for the local ice mangers and Zamboni drivers held by the NHL's ice guru, Dan Craig.
Sabres alumni Dave Andreychuk, Danny Gare and former Senators Shawn McEachern and Brad Marsh are all ready to sign autographs along with the Stanley Cup, give hockey clinics, and visit the local schools and arenas.
"I know the whole town, they are super excited for this happening," said Andreychuk, who hails from Hamilton. "You've got to give them credit, they worked hard trying to get it and they ended up winning."