A Minnesota community and one from just across the border are among four finalists to receive $150,000 in rink improvements in this year’s Kraft Hockeyville USA contest.
East Grand Forks, Minn., and River Falls, Wis., are two of the four finalists in the online competition that is sponsored by Kraft, the NHL and the NHL Players Association. Also advancing to the public voting phase of the contest are El Paso, Texas, and Wichita, Kan.
Along with the $150,000 going to the winning community, the runner-up will receive $30,000 in rink upgrades and the other two finalists will receive $10,000 each. The NHLPA Goals & Dreams Fund will donate $10,000 worth of new hockey equipment to each of the four finalists.
“This year’s compelling stories from some of America’s hockey communities were some of the best we’ve seen to date,” said Magen Hanrahan, vice president of media and marketing services at Kraft Heinz. “We’re excited to watch the country virtually rally around the top four finalists and inspire more local communities as much as the top four have inspired our judges.”
East Grand Forks, winner of the Class 1A biys' hockey title in 2014 and 2015, is in the planning stages of upgrades for its Civic Center and VFW Memorial Arena, which needs its ice plant to be replaced.
For River Falls, upgrades would go to the Wildcat Centre.
Live voting for the contest began Monday at krafthockeyville.com and runs to Aug. 29 with supporters for each community getting a chance to make their case. From 6 a.m. Aug. 29 to 10 a.m. Aug. 30, fans can cast an unlimited number of votes. The winner will be announced Aug. 30.
Further information on a community celebration for the grand prize winner, which in the past has included an NHL exhibition game, will be announced later.
The Hockeyville contest began in 2006 with Canadian entries and expanded to include a U.S. competition beginning in 2015. No Minnesota community has won the title. Bloomington was runner-up in 2017 and Sartell made the final four in 2019.