The Upper Peninsula is the birth place of professional hockey, and once again the U.P has a chance to take advantage of that. The Calumet’s Colosseum is the oldest indoor ice arena in the world, having opened in Michigan’s Copper Country in 1913. But with age comes the need for repairs and with $150,000 on the line Yoopers need to vote for Calumet to win 2019 Hockeyville.
Two Michigan communities are among four finalists for the title of Kraft Hockeyville USA 2019, a sweepstakes hosted by the NHL, NHLPA and Kraft Heinz designed to support local ice rinks and promote hockey in communities across the United States.
Out of Michigan both Cadillac’s Wexford County Civic Center and Calumet’s Colosseum were named finalists on Sunday. The Eagle River Sports Arena in Eagle River, Wisconsin and Bernicks Arena in Sartell, Minnesota are also in the running.
“We were blown away by the compelling, heartfelt stories we received this year from America’s hockey communities,” said Magen Hanrahan, vice president of media and marketing services at Kraft Heinz.
“The top four finalists have already won over our judges, and we’re excited to watch them inspire communities across the country during the voting round.”
The first place winner awarded the opportunity to host an NHL preseason game and $150,000 in rink upgrades. This is something that the Upper Peninsula would take advantage of 110% seeing it’s the birthplace of Pro Hockey, and there isn’t any professional team’s anywhere near the Upper Peninsula. This would draw a big crowd for the game.
Each of the four finalists will receive funds for rink upgrades from Kraft Heinz and $10,000 worth of new hockey equipment from the NHLPA Goals & Dreams program The runner-up will receive $30,000 in rink upgrades.
Online voting begins at 7 a.m. on March 30 and ends at 11 a.m. on March 31. The winner will be announced live during an intermission of an NHL game on NBCSN on March 31.
The rink is home to Calumet’s varsity hockey team and youth leagues. It is the main rink for residents throughout the Keweenaw Peninsula.
The quotes below are from: Betsy C. Which can be found on Kraft Hockeyville’s website.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR COMMUNITY’S SPIRIT AS WELL AS ITS PASSION FOR HOCKEY. CAN YOU DESCRIBE EXAMPLES OF HOW THIS CAME TO LIFE?
“My very first memories ever, were of the sights, the sounds, and the smell of the Calumet Colosseum. Little did I know, when these “first” memories were initially being ingrained into my memory, I would be spending over 70% of my youth where almost EVERY day revolved around this magical place. My father both played, and coached hockey here for a combination of about 45 years . So growing up, I was here nearly every day. Some days twice. Lots of the “kids” around my age, who I have lifelong friendships with-all started here. This place is BEYOND just a place, as it was, and still remains, a social life for many of us “yoopers”. On the weekends, or especially before high school games (high school hockey is HUGE here) I still see vans pulling up to the front door, and dumping a family’s worth of kids off to play, watch siblings or parents play, or simply just hang and have a mini sticks tourney in the halls. Its the epicenter of our community. Where hockey is everything. ”
TELL US ABOUT YOUR RINK. WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO YOUR COMMUNITY AND HOW WOULD THE $150,000 BE BEST USED TO UPGRADE THE RINK?
“Our rink is important to our community because this is (aside from school), where very young kids are introduced to actually learning HOW to be /and actually BECOMING an active part of a community. This place Taught me what NO OTHER place, even school, could have taught me growing up, and well throughout my youth. . The Colosseum IS the meaning of community , in this town. This place deserves to be preserved and renovated and to get this money- so it can hold up and continue to be an integral part of our community, continuing to serve our kids and grandkids, just like it did us growing up. Every old structure needs revamping every few years, and without a doubt, this place is , and will continue to be, among THE most heavily trodden places in this community. And for good reason. For the love of hockey. Everyone who lives here will have been, or will be, in this amazing building at LEAST once in their life, either as a spectator, fan, or player.”
WHY SHOULD YOUR COMMUNITY BE THE NEXT KRAFT HOCKEYVILLE™ USA 2019?
“I wish I could find better descriptors or words to more vividly communicate to everyone involved in the judging of who wins Kraft Hockeyville, the absolute MAGIC of this building. A LOT has gone/ continues to go on under its dome-like roof. The frigid upper Peninsula of Michigan air, along with the well maintained perfect sheet of ice, a tight -knit community of well under 4,000 people, the thunderous roar of a crowd during an overtime , a piercing siren blasting while the stands erupt when our teams are victorious, the kids on the other side of the boards playing an intense game of mini sticks, carrying on like the rest of the world – nor the current game out on the ice- even exists. You pair all of that with a building soaked in history, and there you have OUR Calumet Colosseum. If to me, there were one word for the calumet colosseum, and the love for the game which our tightly woven small community shares that encompasses everything all in one , it would be: FAMILY.”
Now, can we please win this? And make it a Red Wing’s preseason game?