The Winnipeg Jets brought AHL hockey back to St. John's when they announced the former Manitoba Moose would move there for the 2011-12 season and become their top affiliate.
Now, the Mile One Centre -- where the St. John's team will play its home games this season -- will showcase to the fans of Conception Bay South the Jets themselves, with Wednesday's announcement that the arena will host the 2011 Kraft Hockeyville game in which Winnipeg faces off against the Ottawa Senators on Sept. 26.
Conception Bay South, which secured nearly one million votes in winning Kraft Hockeyville 2011 -- a nationwide search for Canada's most passionate hockey town -- will receive $100,000 in upgrade money from Kraft Canada toward its hometown arena, Robert French Memorial Stadium, and the game between the Jets and Senators will be showcased on CBC in Canada and the NHL Network in the United States.
"While the preseason game will be held at Mile One Centre, the Kraft Hockeyville Party will definitely be in Conception Bay South, and only Conception Bay South," Mayor Woodrow French said in a press release. "On Sept. 24 and 25, the town will host the best Kraft Hockeyville Party ever both inside and outside the Robert French Memorial Stadium, all captured by CBC for a special one-hour show in September."
By holding the game at Mile One Centre, which has a seating capacity for hockey 10 times greater than that of Robert French Memorial Stadium, Conception Bay South ensures a far greater number of fans from the community will get to experience the once-in-a-lifetime magic of the Kraft Hockeyville game while also being able to make improvements to its home rink that will impact the future endeavors and dreams of its young athletes for years to come.
"The $100,000 that the town received from Kraft Canada can now go to renovations at the stadium that we know are necessary and will truly benefit our hockey players and figure skaters," French said. "By going to Mile One Centre, we can put the $100,000 into our arena and provide our community with a rink that benefits everyone for the long term."
Politicians from all three levels of government were on hand for the announcement as well as representatives of the St. John's AHL team, Bae New Plan Group and Mile One Centre. Rounding out the list of invited guests were the Presidents of CBR Minor Hockey, CBS Skating Club, CBS Referees Association and the Hockeyville Organizing Committee.
Later this summer, a distribution plan for tickets to the preseason game and a schedule of events for the celebrations leading up to the game will be released. The town of Conception Bay South will continue to collaborate with the Kraft Hockeyville partners, as plans are finalized to ensure Conception Bay South's passion for hockey and its strong sense of community spirit continues to soar beyond expectation.