AMHERST - Amherst was incorporated as a town 125 years ago but if Jordan Hunter has his way Amherst will be incorporated as Hockeyville.
The Grade 11 student at Amherst Regional High School has teamed up with the Amherst Youth Town Council to promote the drive towards bringing an NHL preseason game to Amherst.
"Kraft sponsors Hockeyville, and you have to write them and tell them why you think your town is the most hockey-crazed town in Canada, and why they should bring $100,000 and an NHL preseason game to the town," said Hunter.
The finalist in the Kraft Hockeyville contest wins a NHL preseason game broadcast live across the country, plus $100,000 for stadium renovations.
"We have a big hockey crowd in Amherst and a lot of people are devoted to hockey, so I think it's something Amherst could win," said Hunter.
Only one town in Canada wins the grand prize, but other big prizes are up for grabs.
Hockeyville website has a West Bracket and East Bracket on their website.
The West Bracket is Manitoba west, plus every territory; and the East Bracket is made up of Ontario and every province east.
Hockeyville selects eight finalists in each bracket. Six of those teams receive $25,000 in arena upgrades, while two teams from each side of the bracket moves on to the next round.
Two of those four towns receive $50,000 in arena upgrades, while one town from each bracket becomes a finalist, with each town receiving $100,000 in arena upgrades. Finally, the grand prizewinner is selected, and they host the NHL preseason game.
"If we won the grand prize it would be great for the town to have all kinds of people come into the town and take part in all the events," said Hunter. "And it would be perfect because it's the 125th anniversary for the Town of Amherst."
The Hockeyville website is currently accepting nomination letters and statements to its website.
Hunter worked on his letter off and on for about five days and uploaded it last Saturday.
"The letter talks about what it's like to grow up and play hockey in a hockey town like Amherst, going from childhood to retirement," said Hunter.
There are currently 43 letters and statements uploaded to the Amherst site, with Hunters letter at the top of the pack.
The number of nominations from towns across Canada is fast approaching 7,000.
The deadline for nominations is Feb. 9.
"Kraft Hockeyville goes through all the nominations and pick the ones they like best," said Hunter. "On March 8, Don Cherry will announce the eight teams from each region on Hockey Night in Canada and if we're on the list, right from the moment he makes the announcement, we have to get people to vote online."
"The town that won it last year, Stirling/Rawdon Ont., they got 256,000 votes," said Hunter. "One person can vote as many times as they want. They can vote, refresh, vote and then refresh again."
Hunter is a volunteer with the Maritime Hockey League's Amherst Ramblers, and encouraging him in his dream to bring Hockeyville to Amherst is Ramblers president Jim Henwood and Town of Amherst Physical Activity Coordinator, Corey Crocker.
"We talked about replacing the scoreboard and we'd like to do some cosmetic stuff to the seating so it has an Amherst Ramblers look to it," said Hunter.
Hunter says he hopes people watch the March 8 broadcast of Hockey Night in Canada to see if Amherst is selected.
"If we are selected, people can start voting right away," said Hunter.