Hope is high for Amherst becoming part of Hockeyville competition

Dave Mathieson
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Grand prize is $100,000 in arena upgrades and a NHL pre-season game in their hometown

AMHERST – Will Amherst become part of the Kraft Hockeyville competition?

“I think our chances are really good, but only time will tell,” said Jordan Hunter, Amherst Kraft Hockeyville co-ordinator.

Hunter, a Grade 11 student at Amherst Regional High School, along with Chris Hill, a member of Amherst Youth Town Council, have been working on bringing Hockeyville to Amherst since early February.

Hill thinks Amherst’s chances are good as well.

“Kraft sent about 12 large boxes of advertising to us,” said Hill. “They sent pop-up arenas and miniature billboard signs to put in stores.”

Although boxes of advertising does not guarantee Amherst will be in the running, Hill says it offers a boost of hope and confidence.

“They seem to be taking notice of Amherst,” he said.

The toughest part of their enterprise has been getting the word out, but they believe people in Amherst are taking notice.

“I think we have a lot of the town involved, especially with the Donate to Skate last Saturday night. It helped more people recognize what we’re trying to do,” said Hunter.

Donate to Skate allowed people to skate with the Amherst Ramblers hockey team by donating a box of Kraft Dinner.

“We hit almost 1,000 boxes,” said Hunter. “It was amazing. People were saying we should do it every year.”

The Kraft Dinner was presented to the Amherst Food Bank on Thursday.

Kraft Hockeyville kicks off Saturday night during Hockey Night Canada. Don Cherry will name eight winners from Western Canada and eight winners from Eastern Canada.

“We’re going to have Don Cherry’s voice on the speakers Saturday night during the Ramblers game in the first intermission,” said Hunter.

Six of the eight teams named in the East and West receive $25,000 for arena upgrades, while two town’s move on to the next round. One of those two towns receive $50,000 in arena upgrades, while the other town moves on to the final round between the East and the West. The winner gets $100,000 in arena upgrades and an NHL pre-season game in their hometown, while the town that doesn’t advance receives $100,000 in arena upgrades.

“Two hours after the announcement the voting polls open,” said Hunter.

Voting runs for two days during each round.

Round 1 runs from Saturday at 10 p.m. Eastern Time to Monday at Midnight.

“In the first round, it’s the two out of eight towns with the highest amount of votes that progress into the next round,” said Hunter.

The next voting window opens for Round 2 on March 15 at 11:59, Eastern Time, and runs until 11:59 on March 17.

Voting for Round 3 opens March 22 at 11:59, Eastern Time, and closes at 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time.

People can vote as many times as they want at the Hockeyville website.

Hunter says co-ordinating the event has been an eye-opener.

“I’ve been learning how much work it takes to do something like this,” he said. “Getting the word out there has been the biggest challenge. At first it was really tough but the Donate to Skate event proves a lot of people are aware of it.”

Hill says people at ARHS are aware of it as well.

“A lot of people at the school are asking about when to vote,” he said.

Hunter says it’s good seeing people getting excited about Hockeyville.

“Seeing everybody’s smiling is good,” he said. “A lot of people are excited about the possibility of this happening.”

They’re going to give away bells to get the crowd going during Saturday’s game against the Miramichi Timberwolves, “and we’re going to have face painting as well,” said Hunter.

He hopes a lot of people come out to the game.

“It’s the last home game of the regular season, so we hope people come out and show their Ramblers spirit and Amherst Kraft Hockeyville spirit too,” said Hunter.


















Organizations: NHL, Amherst Regional High School, Amherst Youth Town Council Amherst Food Bank

Geographic location: Amherst, Western Canada, Eastern Canada

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