Elsipogtog First Nation has made it to the top 4 for Kraft Hockeyville, a nationwide competition that has a $250 000 grand prize in arena repairs and, if won, would bring a pre-season NHL game to New Brunswick.
Kraft Hockeyville is an annual competition sponsored by Kraft Heinz, the National Hockey League, and the NHL Players Association. It is designed for communities to demonstrate their love of hockey and commitment to the sport.
The arena in Elsipogtog First Nation, the Chief Young Eagle Recreation Center, was damaged in September and required many upgrades to repair it.
“The arena in Elsipogtog was damaged in a fire last September, so winning this competition is something the community is hoping for,” explained Kylie Francis, UNB Student and member of Elsipogtog First Nation.
The mission to win Kraft Hockeyville 2021 is being led by Francis, Jamie Carpenter, Malian Levi, and Sharona Levi as they aim to become the first Indigenous community to win the competition.
Their efforts have quickly amassed a large following on social media, with over 7 300 members on their Facebook page, “Chief Young Eagle Arena – Kraft Hockeyville 2021”. They have also received support from Hockey New Brunswick, former professional hockey player Ted Nolan, and local politician Lisa Harris.
Voting for Kraft Hockeyville 2021 begins on April 9 at 9:00 a.m. EST and closes April 10 at 5:00 p.m. EST. The winner will be announced April 10 during the broadcast of Hockey Night in Canada.