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Enderby named Kraft Hockeyville finalist

Enderby’s arena was shut down for the season in January. The city now has a shot at $250,000 for arena upgrades
The Enderby Arena has been shut down for the remainder of the ice season following the discovery of a problem with its refrigeration system, the city announced Thursday, Jan. 4, 2024. The city is now in the running for $250,000 in arena upgrades through Kraft Hockeyville. (Google Maps photo)

Enderby’s arena woes could soon be significantly eased as the city has been named a 2024 Kraft Hockeyville finalist.

Enderby, along with Cochrane, Alta., Wolseley, Sask. and Elliot Lake, Ont. were announced as this year’s finalists on Saturday, March 9. The four communities are in the running to receive $250,000 for arena upgrades.

Kraft Hockeyville is an annual contest that sees one Canadian community receive funding to improve their arena. From Jan. 1 to Feb. 18, people nominated rinks and earned rally points by interacting with the nominations. A judging period ran from Feb. 19 to March 9, before the finalists were announced.

It’s a welcome opportunity for Enderby as the community’s arena was abruptly shut down in January due to an issue with its refrigeration system. The shutdown affects both the skating and curling rink and was made to prevent a safety hazard, the city said.

The closure has impacted a number of organizations that use the rink, including the Enderby and District Curling Club and the North Okanagan Minor Hockey Association.

READ MORE: Enderby Curling Club, local hockey association hit hard by rink closure

Along with funding, the Kraft Hockeyville winner will have the chance to host a National Hockey League (NHL) preseason game. This year’s winner and each of the three runner-up communities will also receive $10,000 in brand-new sets of hockey equipment to help youth play the sport.

A press release issued Saturday by Kraft Heinz, the NHL and NHLPA states that the Enderby Arena is “a social hub where generations have formed lifelong bonds.”

“Hundreds of kids participate each season through minor hockey organizations. With low-cost options and strong support for school programs, the arena is a place where players of all ages and abilities can cultivate the skills and passion that make hockey a way of life,” the press release reads.

The top four communities will go head to head in a round of voting to determine the winner.

“The excitement hockey fans have for this program never ceases to amaze me,” said Simon Laroche, president of Kraft Heinz Canada.

”Their dedication fosters inclusivity and accessibility on the ice, ensuring that the joy of the sport can be experienced by every Canadian. We’re thrilled to announce this year’s top four finalists and are incredibly proud of the continued dedication Kraft Hockeyville showcases to further highlight the way hockey unites the nation.”

The public will be able to vote for their favourite rink from 6 a.m. March 29 to 2 p.m. March 30. The winner will be announced later in the day March 30.

To read Enderby’s nomination stories that were submitted during the contest, click here.

READ MORE: Skating and curling season frozen as Enderby arena shuts down

READ MORE: Enderby rallies to score Kraft Hockeyville arena upgrade

Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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