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Hockeyville USA

Stanley Cup arrives at Kraft Hockeyville USA

Town of Marquette, Mich., enjoys rare chance to see trophy

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / Staff Writer

MARQUETTE, Mich. -- In addition to Lakeview Arena hosting a nationally-televised preseason game and $150,000 to be used on arena upgrades as the winner of Kraft Hockeyville USA, Sunday provided fans and the community an opportunity to enjoy a Fun Fair at the nearby Superior Dome on the campus of Northern Michigan University.

There was face painting, corn hole, activities for kids, and, of course the biggest attraction, the Stanley Cup. The line to take a picture with the trophy wound around on the football turf inside the arena.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience here in Marquette," Detroit Red Wings fan Nate Gregovich said. "I'm from the Sioux, so there's a big support for hockey all across the [Upper Peninsula]. I know Puller Stadium (in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.) was in the running last year (finished in fourth), my hometown, but now that I live here in Marquette, this means so much more because I did help promote the event. Last year I was really involved with Kraft Hockeyville."

Gregovich was accompanied by his wife and kids, and waited in line patiently for a picture with the Cup.

"How often has the Cup -- or this experience -- been in Marquette?" Gregovich said. "It's huge."

Detroit is about a seven-hour drive to Marquette, so the hockey fans in the community don't get to see NHL games in person very often. That will change for those who will see the Carolina Hurricanes and Buffalo Sabres play at Lakeview Arena on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN).

"You have your Wings fans up here, of course, we are in Michigan," Gregovich said. "But then you also have your Minnesota fans, your Chicago fans. There's a lot of students up here at Northern (Michigan University) that are from Chicago, Toronto. There's Bruins fans, Pittsburgh fans. So everyone gets part of it."

The money not only helps with hockey in the area, but other youth programs as well.

"Knowing that we are getting the funding for the arena is huge," Gregovich said. "It helps not only the hockey teams, but it helps the youth, helps the figure skating and all the different community events that happen at Lakeview. Hockey is so big up here."

Even those new to the community were excited about Marquette being named Kraft Hockeyville USA.

"I didn't live here when it was selected, but it is definitely exciting for the area," Erica Nue said. "What [Kraft is] doing in the community and in the schools for the kids to bring it in is pretty special for them."

Nue, a Wild fan from Minnesota and her husband, who was wearing a Red Wings T-shirt, got a family picture with the Cup.

"It's a picture that will be cherished for a long time," said Nue, who held with tradition and didn't touch the Cup.

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