This one really bothers me. Kraft Canada stated earlier this week that they have decided to cancel their 2013 Hockeyville program because of the NHL lockout. For those who are not aware of the Kraft Hockeyville contest, it has become somewhat of a fun tradition in recent years for Canadian hockey fans. Small communities all over the country can enter, and fans vote on the hockey city most deserving of receiving the title of Hockeyville.
Besides earning the distinction of being a great hockey town, they will also receive $100,000 in arena upgrade money, $10,000 in food bank donations, and the right to host an NHL preseason game. Kraft has done an excellent job over the years promoting the contest and partnering with Hockey Night in Canada to increase exposure for the event. Without a season it’s hard to blame them for cancelling.
It’s one thing to have the games, Winter Classic, or All-Star festivities cancelled, but taking away money and resources from local communities is very frustrating. I know the NHL isn’t directly pulling the plug in this case, but it’s still no doubt a direct result from the lockout.
Last year’s winner, Stirling-Rawdon, ON, still received their money and donations, but obviously are still waiting to host an exhibition game. They were supposed to host a contest between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Columbus Blue Jackets, but that has since been cancelled. Should this mess ever get resolved then they will get to host a preseason game.
The NHL is surely bracing for a backlash from the public since fans are without hockey, but it’s these types of things that could cost them dearly. Losing events that promote the sport at a grassroots level hurts even more.