CHICAGO – Marquette, Mich., has been named Kraft HockeyvilleTM USA 2016, the most passionate hockey community in America. In partnership with the National Hockey League (NHL®) and the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA), the Kraft HockeyvilleTM USA contest has awarded $150,000 in upgrades to Lakeview Arena, which will also host an NHL® Pre-Season game broadcast on NBCSN, between the Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes.
Marquette is rich in hockey heritage and Lakeview Arena stands as a pillar of the community, stimulating the local economy since it opened in 1973. Lakeview Arena’s semi-pro Marquette Iron Rangers signed the first female professional hockey player in North American history, Karen Koch, and later featured brothers Steve and Jeff Carlson who went on to star as the Hanson Brothers in the iconic hockey movie Slap Shot. Lakeview Arena will prioritize energy efficiency updates with the grand prize money in addition to other arena upgrades to ensure future generations of Marquette players are able to enjoy skating at Lakeview Arena for years to come.
“We’ve seen amazing participation across the country in Kraft HockeyvilleTM USA’s second year,” said Nina Barton, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Kraft Heinz. “This year’s contest led to millions of votes from passionate hockey fans, and we’re so proud America has chosen the spirited, well-deserving community of Marquette as Kraft HockeyvilleTM USA 2016.”
Marquette was just one of more than a thousand communities across the country that submitted stories showing their hockey spirit and passion. The runner-up, Rushmore Thunderdome of Rapid City, S.D., will receive $75,000 to use toward arena upgrades.
"The local rink is a hub of activity, excitement, entertainment and fun – a place where the love of hockey can energize an entire community," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "The National Hockey League is pleased to recognize all who participated in Kraft HockeyvilleTM USA and is delighted to congratulate Marquette, Michigan for ensuring that an upgraded Lakeview Arena will be able to welcome future generations of hockey families, players, coaches and volunteers."
“Kraft Hockeyville gives players the chance to take the game back to local arenas where the game is learned,” said NHLPA Executive Director Don Fehr. “The players from the Sabres and Hurricanes are excited to hit the ice in Marquette for this year’s Kraft HockeyvilleTM USA game.”
“We’re excited to once again have a chance to participate in a Kraft HockeyvilleTM USA preseason game,” said Buffalo Sabres General Manager Tim Murray. “As an organization, we’re proud to be a part of such a tremendous community initiative.”
“We're thrilled to be involved with this initiative, which highlights the grassroots of our sport,” said Hurricanes General Manager Ron Francis. “I grew up about three hours from Marquette, so it will be fun to be on the Upper Peninsula to be a part of this special event.”
NHLPA, National Hockey League Players’ Association and the NHLPA logo are trademarks of the NHLPA. © NHLPA.
NHL and the NHL Shield are registered trademarks, and HOCKEYVILLE is a trademark of the National Hockey League. © NHL 2016. All Rights Reserved.
ABOUT THE KRAFT HEINZ COMPANY
The Kraft Heinz Company (NASDAQ: KHC) is the third-largest food and beverage company in North America and the fifth-largest food and beverage company in the world, with eight $1 billion+ brands. A globally trusted producer of delicious foods, The Kraft Heinz Company provides high quality, great taste and nutrition for all eating occasions whether at home, in restaurants or on the go. The Company’s iconic brands include Kraft, Heinz, ABC, Capri Sun, Classico, Jell-O, Kool-Aid, Lunchables, Maxwell House, Ore-Ida, Oscar Mayer, Philadelphia, Planters, Plasmon, Quero, Weight Watchers Smart Ones and Velveeta. The Kraft Heinz Company is dedicated to the sustainable health of our people, our planet and our Company. For more information, visit www.kraftheinzcompany.com.
It’s an off-season that continues to be full of changes, reactionary and planned, as all of us in the USA Hockey Officiating Department forge forward in the new normal. Our efforts are consistently focused on ensuring safety, fun and development for players, coaches and officials.
One issue that continues to arise is the abuse of officials and the effects it has on retention. To counter and help improve the environment, USA Hockey’s rules sub-committee has been focused and committed to solutions.
This sub-committee was established to define and recommend programs to confront this problem. As a result of this, a first step was taken at the recent Annual Congress to amend the Zero Tolerance Policy. Several proposals were made and adopted by the Board of Directors to constructively confront this problem.
These changes strongly recommend things like game officials introducing themselves to the coach during warm-ups in order to start the communication process and set some guidelines for in-game communication.
The parents/spectators section was amended to clearly state the behavioral expectations of this group. Another strong recommendation added to this section was to establish a parent/spectator monitor by each local youth hockey team for all games. Ideally, this monitor will address and de-escalate parent/spectator behavior before it impacts the game and the officials have to stop play.
Also added, a reminder to administrators that they are responsible for taking any appropriate disciplinary action towards parents/spectators that are removed from a game as a result of a violation of the Zero Tolerance Policy.
Navigating New Norms
As we all still grapple with the effects of the pandemic, the Officiating Program has been working to develop effective ways to fulfill our educational responsibilities when it comes to the annual registration process. To that end, the only process that provides educational value and a safe environment is with virtual seminars. A format and curriculum was developed and approved by the District RIC’s. This was distributed to all of the District RIC’s for implementation as they see fit. Due to the many different and ever-changing restrictions around the country, if the situation arises where in-person seminars can be held then the District RIC can also schedule them as needed. The Virtual Seminar Program is the best solution for this season. As situations change, the Officials Section will revisit this program for all future seasons.
Every Tuesday, the Officiating Education Program will present an hour-long webinar on various topics of interest and importance to not only USA Hockey’s officials but the entire membership. These panel discussions will cover topics such as abuse and zero tolerance, communication, player safety, as well as items such as game management and positioning within the three recognized USA Hockey Officiating systems. Panelists will include some of the top officials in the country and other experts from the hockey world whose goal will be to inform, entertain and encourage the USA Hockey community to learn more about officiating.
Getting officials from their first year to their third season is a key focus for the Officiating Education Program. Helping officials understand the basics of the craft and giving them a supportive resource is what the Mentor Project is all about. USA Hockey is helping local Officials Associations put together the framework where a mentor gets matched with a new official and works with them not only in their first month or second, but is a constant resource for the new official throughout their first couple of seasons. Learning about how to read the rule book, navigate the challenges of getting assignments and become a proficient official are all goals of the mentor project.
Again, we hope everyone is safe and sane as we prepare for a different landscape of hockey – but we are excited to welcome it, and you, back to the game.
See you at the rink!