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BEYOND LOCAL: Northern Ontario arena a Kraft Hockeyville finalist

Voting for the Kraft Hockeyville grand prize starts at 9 a.m. on Friday, March 29, and closes at 5 p.m. on March 30
Work continues to repair the Centennial arena, closed since September last year

Elliot Lake is a finalist in the Kraft Hockeyville contest that could see the community win $250,000 to repair its Centennial Arena. The city will face off against three other finalists: Enderby, British Columbia (Enderby Arena), Cochrane, Alberta (Cochrane Arena), and Wolseley, Saskatchewan (Wolseley Sportsplex).

A large crowd of residents and politicians gathered at Mount Dufour Chalet for a watch party, cheering when the news was announced.

“Thank you to everyone that came out to the Hockeyville watch party at Mt. Dufour,” a statement from the city on social media read. “We couldn’t have made this nomination happen without having the amazing community that we do. Make sure to vote for Elliot Lake on March 29 and March 30 and spread the word to everyone you know.”

In order to become a finalist, residents and supporters of the arena submitted nominations, writing short stories about their experiences with the arena, built in 1967, and the integral part hockey plays in Elliot Lake.

Kraft Heinz, in partnership with the National Hockey League (NHL®) and the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) hosts the competition. Kraft Hockeyville has established a longstanding commitment to building strong and inclusive communities across the country through the love of the game of hockey. The program has awarded over $4.8 million to 97 communities over the past 18 years in support of revitalizing Canada’s aging sports and recreation infrastructure.

Centennial Arena was closed in September over concerns about it being an unsafe structure. That has forced Elliot Lake hockey teams to play and practice in Massey and Blind River. It has been difficult for the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League Elliot Lake Vikings who played their home opener in Centennial Arena at the start of the season before it was shut down.

No firm cost for work on the facility has been announced, but an engineering report found the structure could be repaired and stay operational as a recreational facility here for many years.

Voting for the Kraft Hockeyville grand prize starts at 9 a.m. on Friday, March 29, and closes at 5 p.m. on March 30.

"Votes per person are unlimited but can only be cast on the website during the voting phase," said a post on

The winner will be announced live on Hockey Night in Canada the evening of March 30.