PITTSBURGH & CHICAGO -- Kraft Heinz is thrilled to announce Clinton Arena in Clinton, New York is the winner of Kraft Hockeyville USA 2018. After weeks of rallying and online voting, Clinton rallied together to prove exactly why they are the most spirited hockey community in America. The Kraft Hockeyville USA contest, now in its fourth year and in partnership with the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA), is proud to award Clinton Arena in Clinton, N.Y., an opportunity to host an NHL preseason Game and $150,000 in rink upgrades.
Clinton Arena is a staple of the local hockey community in Clinton, N.Y. After suffering a fire in 1949 and rebuilding from scratch six years later, this beloved gem has served generations of young hockey players for nearly 70 years. Cementing its history, Clinton Arena was proudly listed on the National Historic Register in 2010. While the venue still has many of its original fixtures intact today, the prize money from Kraft Hockeyville USA will go toward improvements to a number of features, including the arena's roof, locker room and seating.
"After an exciting face-off between our top four contenders, we're thrilled to award Clinton the title of 'Kraft Hockeyville USA 2018,'" said Michelle St. Jacques, head of brand marketing and R&D. "Clinton brought to life the essence of this program -- both on and off the rink -- and showed inspiring passion to rally their community. We're excited to celebrate this win with them later this year."
Rinks from across the country participated in this year's bid for the title of "Kraft Hockeyville USA 2018." The runner-up, Brandon Valley in Brandon, South Dakota, will receive $30,000 to use toward rink upgrades, and George's Pond at Hirsch Coliseum in Shreveport, Louisiana and Memorial Sports Center in Middlebury, Vermont will each receive $10,000.
In addition to the rink upgrades -- and with the support of Kraft Heinz -- NHLPA Goals & Dreams, the players' charitable grassroots hockey program, will donate new hockey equipment to select Kraft Hockeyville™ USA communities, giving more disadvantaged youth the opportunity to play hockey. These donations continue the work of the players' charitable initiative which for more than 18 years has assisted grassroots programs all around the world.
Since launching in Canada in 2006, Kraft Hockeyville™ has positively impacted more than 80 communities with over $4 million donated in rink upgrades across Canada and the United States. Previous U.S. winners include Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania in 2017; Marquette, Michigan in 2016; and Johnstown, Pennsylvania in 2015.
"Each year, Kraft Hockeyville USA puts a spotlight on the importance of local ice rinks to communities all across the country," NHL Chief Brand Officer and Executive Vice President Brian Jennings said. "Community support is crucial to the growth of hockey and Kraft Heinz's commitment to this program is making a significant impact. Congratulations to Clinton Arena in Clinton, New York and to all of this year's Kraft Hockeyville USA participants. The overwhelming response from cities nationwide is proof positive of the local commitment to ice rinks and the youth hockey players, coaches, parents and volunteers that call it home."
"We are proud to partner with Kraft Heinz to continue bringing the NHL into more communities across the U.S. We know this year's Kraft Hockeyville USA winner, Clinton Arena in Clinton, New York will be another great host," said Mathieu Schneider, NHLPA Special Assistant to the Executive Director. "The players who hit the ice next September are looking forward to the celebration with the passionate fans of Clinton."
For program details, visit www.KraftHockeyville.com. Kraft Hockeyville USA 2018 can also be found on Facebook (KraftHockeyvilleUSA), Twitter (@HockeyvilleUSA), and Instagram (KraftHockeyvilleUSA). Fans can join the conversation using #HockeyvilleUSA.