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For the love of hockey: Kraft to launch campaign in search of America's most passionate hockey town @NHLdotcom

NORTHFIELD, Ill. – Kraft will celebrate the passion and unity of hockey communities like never before with the launch of Kraft Hockeyville 2015 on both sides of the border. For the first time, the award-winning program in Canada is expanding to help build better communities in the United States as well. Now, hockey towns in the U.S. can enter for a chance to win a $150,000 arena makeover courtesy of Kraft, have an NHL preseason game played in its local arena showcased on TV and earn the title "Kraft Hockeyville 2015."

As a highly successful, award-winning scale marketing program in Canada, Kraft Hockeyville has awarded more than $1.6 million towards local hockey arena upgrades to more than 40 communities over the last eight years.

"We are thrilled to bring Kraft Hockeyville to the States and leverage the scale of our portfolio to help support hockey at the local level," said Dino Bianco, Executive Vice President and President, Kraft Beverages. "As a lifelong hockey player myself, I know that the bonds families form through local sports make our communities stronger. That is why Kraft Hockeyville is not just an investment in local hockey rinks but in building better communities."

Kraft Hockeyville will now bring together a roster of all-star partners in the United States, including NBC Sports Group, the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA), the National Hockey League (NHL®) and USA Hockey.

"Kraft has been an instrumental partner in our efforts to grow the game," said John Collins, Chief Operating Officer, National Hockey League. "We're thrilled to continue our 30-year relationship in Canada and expand our partnership with Kraft to the United States where together, through Kraft Hockeyville, we can celebrate the passion American communities have for our sport at all levels and reward their passion with an unforgettable experience as we bring an NHL preseason game to the winning community next fall."

"The players are pleased to see Kraft Hockeyville expand to the U.S. after the success of the program in Canada over the past eight years," said Don Fehr, NHLPA Executive Director. "Kraft Hockeyville 2015 will provide a great opportunity for NHL players to connect with the fans and give the winning U.S. community a chance to see their favorite players up close in their own rink."

Hockey arenas, like all sports facilities, are the gathering place for communities, where kids go to learn, play and compete. Hundreds of thousands of kids who enjoy the ritual of local and youth hockey at thousands of local arenas will have an opportunity to share in the excitement of this one-of-a-kind competition.

"Kraft Hockeyville brings a unique and special opportunity for our local associations, rinks and communities across the country to not only enhance their facilities, but also showcase their programs and generate excitement and visibility for their community," said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey. "We look forward to working with our friends at Kraft, the NHL, the NHLPA and NBC Sports Group on this terrific program."

"As the exclusive U.S. home of the NHL, we're always excited to support a grass-roots program that is committed to growing the game," said Sam Flood, Executive Producer, NBC Sports & NBCSN. "As a kid, there's nothing like walking into a rink early in the morning and smelling hockey. The local rink is a special place that brings any adult who's played the game back to their childhood."

Marketing On Ice

This unique, fully integrated scale-marketing program will include TV, digital and in-store media support. Many U.S. retailers activate in-store promotions during hockey season and the launch of Kraft Hockeyville will help enhance their connection to hockey and their local community. The participating Kraft brands will include A1, Bulls-Eye BBQ Sauce, Cracker Barrel, Jell-O, Kraft Mac & Cheese, Kraft Mayo, Kraft Natural Cheese, Kraft Salad Dressings, Kraft Singles, Maxwell House, Miracle Whip, Oscar Mayer, Philadelphia, Planters, Stove Top and Velveeta.

In addition to Kraft Hockeyville, the newly expanded agreement makes Kraft an Official Sponsor of the NHL and the NHLPA in North America and an Official Partner of the NHL Winter Classic®, NHL Stadium Series™, NHL® All-Star Game, NHL Heritage Classic™, NHL Face-Off™ and the Stanley Cup® Playoffs. Kraft brands will also enjoy sponsorship exclusivity in more than a dozen food and drink categories, including Roast & Ground Coffee, Cheese, Snack Nuts, Enhancers, Packaged Cold Cuts, and Desserts, among others.

The puck will drop for Kraft Hockeyville in the U.S. with nominations beginning on January 1, 2015, during the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic featuring the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals. Community nomination and contest details will be released in the coming months on

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