CHICAGO -- Communities across the country have shown their local pride and love of hockey, and now 10 of them are one step closer to being awarded the title of Kraft Hockeyville™ USA 2017.
The Kraft Heinz search for America's most passionate hockey community - in partnership with the National Hockey League (NHL®), National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA), NBC Sports Group and USA Hockey - led to almost 1,300 local rink nominations across the United States, accounting for nearly 73 percent of rinks nationwide, according to USA Hockey data. With the nominations now narrowed down to 10 finalists, the first round of public voting will begin April 11 at www.krafthockeyville.com.
Each of the 10 finalists will be awarded funds for arena upgrades from Kraft Heinz, and the grand prize winner will be awarded $150,000 and the opportunity to host an NHL® Pre-Season game televised live on NBCSN.
The 10 communities advancing to the first round of public voting are:
Bill Gray's Regional Iceplex - Rochester, N.Y.
Falmouth Ice Arena - Falmouth, Mass.
Ira S. Wilson Ice Arena - Geneseo, N.Y.
Louis Astorino Arena - Hamden, Conn.
The Rostraver Ice Gardens - Bell Vernon, Penn.
Bloomington Ice Garden - Bloomington, Minn.
Douglas Ice Arena - Douglas, Wyo.
MAYSA Arena - Minot, N.D.
Pepsi Ice Center - Bloomington, Ill.
Riverside Arena - Austin, Minn.
"We're excited to be one step closer to naming the most passionate hockey community in America for 2017, and are astonished by the emotion and spirit depicted in the nearly 1,300 nominations we received," said Nina Barton, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Kraft Heinz. "It's going to be a great race to the finish, as each of the top 10 rinks truly embodies the spirit of Kraft HockeyvilleTM USA."
USA Hockey teamed up with Kraft Heinz on Kraft HockeyvilleTM USA to help support and raise awareness for youth hockey across the country. All 50 states and the District of Columbia were represented among the individual rinks nominated.
The first of three rounds of voting to determine the Kraft HockeyvilleTM USA 2017 winner will begin on April 11 - online, via text and via Twitter. Visit www.krafthockeyville.com for more details. The voting schedule is as follows:
Round 1 (April 11-13) - Top four communities chosen to move on to the next round; remaining six each receive $10,000 toward arena upgrades.
Round 2 (April 18-19) - Top two finalists selected; remaining two each receive $25,000 toward arena upgrades.
Round 3 (April 24-25) - One community will emerge as "Kraft HockeyvilleTM USA" 2017; runner-up will receive $75,000 toward arena upgrades.
The winning community will be announced on April 29 and will receive the grand prize of $150,000 and the opportunity to host an NHL® Pre-Season Game broadcast on NBCSN.