Voters! City seeks win in ‘Kraft Hockeyville’

Published 8:05 am Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Austin’s Riverside Arena is in the top 10 of hockey rinks to qualify for the “Kraft Hockeyville” competition — and could get up to $150,000 for arena upgrades if it wins the top spot.

But that will be up to voters, who can go online to and vote for Riverside today, Wednesday and Thursday.

Each of the 10 finalists will be awarded funds for arena upgrades from Kraft Heinz,and the grand prize winner will be awarded $150,000 and the opportunity to host an NHL Pre-Season game televised live on NBCSN.

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“We really want to get people out there to vote,” said Kim Underwood, the city’s Park and Rec director. “We really want to do some upgrades for our arena,” adding that the funding could even be more expansive if grants are found that have a match.

“We hear a lot about how much people like to skate in our arena,” and city officials want to make sure that continues, she said. The rink was built in 1973 and needs upgrades — everything from new scoreboards to locker room improvements.

The Austin Bruins nominated the arena for the third straight year. Depending on the strength of this week’s voting, four arenas will be chosen to continue in the competition. Then, on April 24 and 25, the field will be shaved to two; and the winner will be announced the end of the month.

Only one other Minnesota community, Bloomington, is included in the top 10.

“We’re excited to be one step closer to naming the most passionate hockey community in America for 2017, and are astonished by the emotion and spirit depicted in the nearly 1,300 nominations we received,” said Nina Barton, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Kraft Heinz. “It’s going to be a great race to the finish, as each of the top 10 rinks truly embodies the spirit of Kraft Hockeyville USA.”

USA Hockey teamed up with Kraft Heinz on Kraft Hockeyville USA to help support and raise awareness for youth hockey across the country. All 50 states and the District of Columbia were represented among the individual rinks nominated.

The first of three rounds of voting to determine the Kraft Hockeyville USA 2017 winner began today  online, via text and via Twitter. Visit for more details.

‘Kraft Hockeyville’ voting schedule

Round 1 (April 11-13) – Top four communities chosen to move on to the next round; remaining six each receive $10,000 toward arena upgrades.

Round 2 (April 18-19) – Top two finalists selected; remaining two each receive $25,000 toward arena upgrades.

Round 3 (April 24-25) – One community will emerge as “Kraft Hockeyville USA” 2017; runner-up will receive $75,000 toward arena upgrades.

The 10 communities advancing to the first round of public voting are:


Bill Gray’s Regional Iceplex – Rochester, N.Y.

Falmouth Ice Arena – Falmouth, Mass.

Ira S. Wilson Ice Arena – Geneseo, N.Y.

Louis Astorino Arena – Hamden, Conn.

The Rostraver Ice Gardens – Bell Vernon, Penn.


Bloomington Ice Garden –  Bloomington, Minn.

Douglas Ice Arena – Douglas, Wyo.

MAYSA Arena – Minot, N.D.

Pepsi Ice Center – Bloomington, Ill.

Riverside Arena – Austin, Minn.