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A. G. Ross Arena’s Hockeyville nomination accepted, and the rally begins

Elk Point’s A. G. Ross Arena is in the running for Kraft Hockeyville, with its grand prize of $250,000 in arena upgrades and the opportunity to host an NHL pre-season game.
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File photo

ELK POINT – Elk Point’s A. G. Ross Arena is in the running for Kraft Hockeyville, with its grand prize of $250,000 in arena upgrades and the opportunity to host an NHL pre-season game, and three second prizes of $25,000 each.

Arena fundraising committee member Courtney Kelly reported Wednesday that the nomination she had submitted had been accepted, and the opportunity for the community to rally in support of the arena can begin. With a busy winter of tournaments coming up, including the Ronald McDonald Winterfest and the U13 Provincials, the arena and its aging ice plant needs all the support it can get.

“We have lost the plant three times this year already,” Kelly says, “And it’s got to be functional.”

Icemaker Brian Poitras called in electrician Darrel Malo to repair a wiring issue just after the ice went in at the end of September, Conrad Pierce and a friend got it going after a second shutdown “and last time, Brittany Brousseau drove to Edmonton to get the parts to get it up and running again.” The fundraising committee, which also includes Brousseau, Gwen Pierce and Carrie Baumgardner, has already held several fundraisers, including the pre-Christmas Skate With Santa, but say that replacement of the plant would cost more than $170,000, an amount far beyond the scope of local fundraising efforts.

With the acceptance of Kelly’s nomination, now the entire community and surrounding area have an opportunity to support the Hockeyville nomination. By going on the Kraft Hockeyville website, https://hockeyville.kraftcanada.ca/#/community.agrossarena and registering, supporters can share a note, add up to five arena photos, and share their own stories about the arena by answering three questions, telling about the community and its passion for hockey, about the arena itself and its importance to their family and community, and how the money would be spent to upgrade and enhance the arena.

The rally continues until Feb. 19, after which judges will tally the entries for each arena, and will announce the top four arenas on March 11. Those top four communities will have 20 days to once again rally for support before voting takes place from 9 a.m. on March 31 to 5 p.m. on April 1, when the winners will be announced.

Over Kraft Hockeyville’s past 16 years, a total of 93 communities have received help for their arenas, with four of the major prizes going to Ontario, three to British Columbia, two each to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland, and one each to Quebec, Prince Edwards Island and Alberta, where Sylvan Lake’s beloved arena had suffered the collapse of its roof in 2014.