Grand Valley in bid for arena improvements from Kraft

February 4, 2016   ·   0 Comments

If you’re a hockey fan, the prospect of having a National Hockey League pre-season game hosted at your local arena is probably right up there with getting to meet Wayne Gretsky or Paul Henderson. And if enough people get on board with the idea, the Grand Valley Community Centre and Arena might just be that lucky place.

For the past 10 years, Kraft Canada has worked at building stronger communities across Canada through their annual Kraft Hockeyville competition. On their website for this year’s event,, Kraft shares why they are so driven to keep this annual competition running.

“No country in the world is more passionate about hockey than Canada,” they write. “It brings us together as fans, friends, family, and ultimately, as a community. Over the past 10 years, Kraft Hockeyville has contributed over $2 million to 53 communities across Canada, because we believe that hockey builds community and community builds hockey.”

The competition identifies two categories of winners: the top 10, who will receive $25,000 for arena upgrades, and the grand prize winner, who gets $100,000 for both arena upgrades and a chance to host an NHL pre-season game.

Arenas/communities have two ways of getting noticed, and hopefully entering the top 10. First, they must be nominated by an individual in the community through the Kraft Hockeyville website, which several local residents, including Kaye Martin, a hockey mom of two Grand Valley Twisters players, have done already, sharing their reasons why Grand Valley deserves the funds.

“Our small town is passionate about hockey, which can be seen in the children’s faces as they play their hearts out on the ice or on their own driveway,” wrote Ms. Martin in her nomination. “All are proud to wear the Twister emblem no matter if it’s a win or a loss. Hockey isn’t just a sport in our town, it’s a way of life and an opportunity for team and community building.”

She added that the community-building includes extending the reach of the team and those involved by doing things such as collecting toys for the OPP toy drive, volunteering, celebrating big and small accomplishments, cream pie-throwing at coaches, pot lucks and more (including being a part of Air Canada and P.K. Subban’s Canada Carols).

By email, Ms. Martin explained why she proceeded with the nomination and would like to see the funds for the upgrades come to the town.

“Small town hockey is dwindling, and Grand Valley Minor Hockey numbers are decreasing each year,” she said. “Eventually we will be swallowed up by surrounding centres which are larger. Kraft Hockeyville would be a big boost for the town. Put us on the map and help us compete with surrounding areas while upgrading our arena and making it more accessible for the development of our players.”

While the Grand Valley Arena could benefit from a number of upgrades, Ms. Martin identified the biggest beneficial upgrade from the funds as changes being made to the icepad area.

On her nomination page, she wrote: “The ice; piping system that helps create the ice and keeps it cool; the cooling system; the boards; changing rooms; a system that would enable our players to get on the ice prior to the end of September (Fall Fair uses ice surface so ice can’t be put in till then.). This would boost our community and give our players extra ice time that could help develop them prior to games starting. It would also be a more welcoming place for visiting teams.”

In the email, Ms. Martin added that as a long-time resident and proud hockey mum, a big part of this is seeing that her two boys will have the opportunity to share in the same memories other residents of Grand Valley have had through this arena since its inception.

“Generations past have their memories and stories of walking to and playing at the arena, which was the centre of our community,” she explained. “It would be sad for this generation not to share in those memories and grow up and play in their home town. Losing hockey in GV would leave a big hole in our community.” 

Nominations for arenas and communities close on Sunday (February 7), and public voting will take place March 13-14 for the top 10, and to identify the two communities who will move forward to the Grand Prize round. Grand Prize voting will take place on March 20 and 21, all online at

This year, the competition has also unveiled hashtags to help spread the word for each community and help get them noticed. To help raise awareness for the Grand Valley Arena, use the hashtag #KHV_GrandValley.

By Tabitha Wells

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