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Kraft Hockeyville 2013

Grabovski meets up with Capitals; visa issue remains

Saturday, 09.14.2013 / 3:31 PM / Kraft Hockeyville 2013

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

BELLEVILLE, Ontario -- Nearly a week into training camp, Mikhail Grabovski finally had an opportunity to meet his new teammates Saturday morning.

Grabovski, who signed a one-year, $3 million contract with the Washington Capitals on Aug. 23, has been stuck in Toronto because of visa issues that have delayed his entrance into the United States. Saturday he was able to meet and work with the Capitals, who will play the Winnipeg Jets in the Kraft Hockeyville game at Yardmen Arena (7 p.m. ET, CBC, NHL Network-U.S.).

"I'm very excited," said Grabovski, who said it took him roughly 90 minutes to drive from his Toronto home to Belleville. "I know they're making me a visa, so everything is going to be fine. I'm just excited to see the guys today and I'm very happy to be here."

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Officials learn from pros at Hockeyville clinic

Friday, 09.13.2013 / 9:53 PM / Kraft Hockeyville 2013

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

STIRLING, Ontario -- The officiating crew for Saturday's Kraft Hockeyville game between the Winnipeg Jets and Washington Capitals arrived at Stirling Rawdon & District Recreation Centre on Friday night and went straight to work.

A group consisting of referees Greg Kimmerly and Kevin Pollock and linesmen Steve Barton and Derek Nansen -- the foursome that will officiate Saturday's game at Yardmen Arena in nearby Belleville -- held a clinic for local referees that featured a classroom and an on-ice session.

The on-ice session was first, and more than dozen local officials hit the ice for some drills. Whether it was how to properly conduct a faceoff or learning how to properly assess penalties, the students had the rare opportunity to learn from the pros.

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Arena manager's legacy motivated Stirling-Rawdon

Friday, 09.13.2013 / 9:00 AM / Kraft Hockeyville 2013

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

All Barry Wilson ever wanted was to see the arena he managed receive the upgrades it needed so the children in Stirling-Rawdon, Ontario, and its surrounding communities could have all the proper amenities in their rink.

The arena manager of the Stirling-Rawdon Recreation Centre for 25 years, Wilson succumbed to a stroke in 2011. A 40-year volunteer of the Ontario Minor Hockey Association, Wilson was a well-known figure by anyone who laced up skates in Stirling-Rawdon, including those who made their way to the NHL, players such as Rob Ray and Matt Cooke. In a village of roughly 1,800 people, 1,000 of them attended Wilson's funeral.

As a tribute, the community was determined to find a way to upgrade its facility. Enter Kraft Hockeyville.

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Dobson stunned to see NHL in his hometown

Thursday, 09.12.2013 / 9:00 AM / Kraft Hockeyville 2013

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Winnipeg Jets director of pro scouting Mark Dobson likes to return home to his native Stirling-Rawdon, Ontario, every summer. When his hometown entered itself into the 2012 Kraft Hockeyville competition, he couldn't believe his eyes.

"When I was there last year when they were going through the whole process, it was crazy," Dobson told NHL.com. "People had their yards decorated. It was really unbelievable. I drove through there one day going out to the Trent River just to check on my summer place out there and I'm going like, 'Holy mackerel, what is going on here?' I heard some rumors about Stirling working on the Kraft Hockeyville, but I had never really realized the extent and the effort that they put into it. It was incredible."

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Jets wing Tangradi excited about return to Belleville

Wednesday, 09.11.2013 / 10:09 AM / Kraft Hockeyville 2013

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Four years have passed since left wing Eric Tangradi last played a competitive hockey game in Belleville, Ontario. That will change Saturday.

Tangradi, who spent his junior career with the Belleville Bulls of the Ontario Hockey League, will be back in town as he and the Winnipeg Jets face the Washington Capitals in the Kraft Hockeyville game (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, CBC), which will drop the puck on the 2013 NHL preseason.

Tangradi, 24, spent three seasons with the Bulls (2006-09), which included a trip to the Memorial Cup in 2008. In 176 OHL games, he had 67 goals and 101 assists.

"My second year we were playing Kitchener in the finals and [it was] one of the hardest-fought series I think we ever played in there," Tangradi told NHL.com. "I think it was Game 4, we were down 3-0 in the series and were able to fight back to go to seven [games]. We lost in seven, but there was a game in Belleville where it was a tempered game. We scored with a minute to go, we scored in overtime, and it was probably the loudest I ever heard that building. I think the roof almost came off that night.

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Jets, Capitals to play Kraft Hockeyville game

Monday, 06.17.2013 / 11:18 PM / Kraft Hockeyville 2013

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The town of Stirling-Rawdon, Ontario will be the place to be the weekend of Sept. 13.

The winner of 2013 Kraft Hockeyville learned Monday night that the Washington Capitals and Winnipeg Jets will play a preseason game at Yardmen Arena in nearby Belleville. The preseason contest is a highlight of winning the Kraft Hockeyville competition, along with the $100,000 the town has already received from Kraft Canada to upgrade the Stirling District Recreation Centre.

"The National Hockey League is proud to conduct Kraft Hockeyville and is absolutely delighted that this unique initiative will resume in September," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "I already have congratulated Stirling-Rawdon for its passion and spirit; today I applaud its patience and look forward to the excitement the community will enjoy when the Jets and Capitals take the ice in the Kraft Hockeyville game that always is a highlight of our preseason."

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Quote of the Day

I feel that responsibility, I've felt it for the last two years. We core guys get a lot of minutes, we get a lot of opportunity out there. Our teammates, the organization and fans look to us to be the guys to put the puck in the net and to create momentum out there.

— Jordan Eberle on taking his game and the Edmonton Oilers to the next level