On April 10, Kraft Heinz Canada, with the National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Hockey League Players Association (NHLPA), announced that Elsipogtog First Nation has been crowned the winner of Kraft Hockeyville 2021.
As stated on the NHLPA website, Elsipogtog is a community that loves hockey, with the support connecting community members since the opening of the Chief Young Eagle Recreation Centre.
“Hockey is the heart and soul of Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick. The community’s arena has always been a catalyst for connection,” read the site. “Some members of the community feel that the racism or daily challenges faced by First Nations fuels their commitment to the game of hockey and their constant drive to play harder and better.”
The Centre, which was badly damaged in a fire in September 2020, requires many upgrades, which can now be funded by the $250 000 afforded to the community following their win. In addition to upgrades, Elsipogtog First Nation will also receive $10 000 worth of hockey equipment for youth players, and the opportunity to host an NHL pre-season game.
Matt Bruce, Senior Brand Manager at Kraft Heinz, extended his congratulations to the community on their win, and acknowledged the hard work of all the communities that were vying to win.
“Every community that participated in this year’s program has a unique local story, but they all share an incredible passion for hockey and a drive to bring their community together through the love of the game,” said Bruce.