Kraft Hockeyville: Face-Lift

Rinks Around The Country Benefit From Hockeyville Generosity

Kraft Heinz knows the lifeblood of any hockey community is the local rink. It is the epicenter of a town’s passion for the game and the hub of activity all year long. While Johnstown, Pa., earned the right to be called Kraft Hockeyville USA™, a number of other towns launched terrific campaigns to showcase their passion for the game.

Through Kraft Heinz’s generosity, nine other community rinks received prize money to help improve their local rinks and create an environment where hockey dreams can take flight.


Decatur Civic Center (Finalist)

Thanks to the $75,000 in prize money, a number of improvements have been made at the Decatur (Ill.) Civic Center that will be enjoyed not only by the Decatur Youth Hockey Association and the Decatur Blaze USPHL team, but also by those attending college graduations, home shows and concerts.

Among the improvements are a new sound system that has significantly improved the quality of sound in the rink. A new trophy case was also installed to highlight the past 50 years of hockey in Decatur.Construction efforts are under way to widen the hallway leading to locker rooms, as well as expansion of the existing locker rooms and team benches.

Thanks to the exposure associated with the Kraft Hockeyville USA™ campaign, the local youth hockey association has seen membership grow by more than 45 percent from last season.

“The rink improvements are great, but the best part is we have so many more kids that have now realized how great this sport is,” said Kristi Niles, a driving force behind Decatur’s bid. “We are confident they will become lifelong lovers of hockey.”


Quincy Youth Arena

Thanks to prize money provided by Kraft Hockeyville USA™, the Quincy Youth Arena in Quincy, Mass., was able to get some much needed repairs to its parking lot that were created by flooding. Now, the new parking area can accommodate an additional 50 cars, along with a new street hockey court for the kids to use. A public skating forum has also been opened to non-profit schools in the city that were provided with free ice time so that they can fund raise for their programs.


Highgate Sports Arena

The Highgate Sports Arena in Highgate, Vt., now has a new ice making system. In addition to a bond approved by local taxpayers as well as grants and other donations, the $20,000 supplied by Kraft Heinz helped the rink guarantee that the project would be completed on time.

Rink managers hope to use the prize money along with other donations to launch the next phase of enhancements to the facility.


Rushmore Hockey Thunderdome

Thanks to Kraft Heinz, the Rushmore Thunderdome in Rapid City, S.D., was able to embark on a major facility upgrade to include new locker rooms, fire sprinkler systems and a new waterline.

“For years, our facility has run off of well water,” said RHA President James Johns. “The well water was extremely high in iron, and for the most part was undrinkable. The high iron water was hard on equipment, including the compressors and ice making systems.”

The $20,000 prize money from Kraft Heinz, along with funds from the city and the local youth hockey association, helped bring this critical project to a conclusion.


Big Dipper Ice Arena

The Big Dipper Ice Arena has long been a focal point in Fairbanks, Alaska. But for years it was hard to let local citizens know what was going on inside there. Now, thanks to $20,000 from Kraft Heinz along with matching state funds, the Big Dipper is well on its way to installing a digital marquee out front of the rink.

“Without the Kraft Hockeyville USA™ funds as a starting point, I doubt that this project would have ever gotten off the ground,” said Randy Zarnke, the president of the Fairbanks Hockey Hall of Fame. “Now it has the potential to multiply the Kraft Heinz funds several times ... all for the benefit of the hockey community in the little town on the Edge of the Last Frontier.”

Other winners included the St. Michael-Albertville (Minn.) Arena, the Healthy Zone Rink in East Aurora, N.Y., and Pullar Stadium in Sault Sainte Marie, Mich.

Rink Renovations Prove To Be Money Well Spent

Like most parents stepping inside the Cambria Country War Memorial Arena for the first time since its renovation, Melissa Glessner not only saw the changes, she also smelled them.

“One, it’s so bright in here now,” said Glessner, whose son Logan was one of first local youth hockey players to step on the new ice. “For another, it doesn’t have that smell that has been here since I first started coming to games as a little girl.”

Thanks to the generosity of Kraft Heinz and the $150,000 grand prize, the 65-year-old arena received more than a face lift. It now has a new life.

For some, like Al Steele, the long-time PA announcer for the War Memorial, the local North American Hockey League team, the renovations will go a long way toward ensuring that high level hockey remains in the community for the foreseeable future.

“Without this, I don’t know where we’d be,” Steele said. “The building was in pretty bad shape, which could probably mean the Tomahawks wouldn’t be here for long. Then where would we be as a hockey community?”

Here’s how Johnstown used the prize money, along with funds from the local government, to breathe new life into the “old barn.”


New LED lights brightened the arena for players and spectators alike. These new energy-efficient lights will reduce electricity use and save the county money over the course of many years.

Sound System

A professional-quality sound system with 12 speakers was installed, with additional repairs made to the existing speakers.

Locker Rooms

The locker rooms received new coats of paint, along with other upgrades that will make the NAHL’s Johnstown Tomahawks, as well as local youth hockey players, feel more at home.


Two rows of seats were removed to expand the bench area for players and coaches, similar to those found in an NHL® arena.

Dasher Boards

New NHL®-quality boards were shipped from the American Airlines Arena, the home of the Dallas Stars.

Glass & Netting

NHL®-quality glass and Kevlar netting were installed to protect fans while giving them a better view of the action on the ice.


Plans to install a new scoreboard were put on hold and the existing scoreboard was given an overhaul with bulbs replaced along with other repairs.

Refrigeration Unit

A new dehumidifier and compressor were installed to create a better sheet of ice.



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