Last month, Esterhazy’s Dana Antal Arena was put forward as a nominee to receive the $100,000 prize in the Kraft Hockeyville 2016 competition. Now, the nominations have closed and the initial judging process will begin.
More than three thousand facilities from across the nation have been nominated this year, with 75 of them coming from Saskatchewan alone. Each nominee had to answer certain questions, hoping to attract the attention of the judges as being worthy of making the cut into the next part of the process. Here are the three questions and answers as they relate to the Dana Antal Arena.
1. How would you describe your community’s passion and spirit for hockey?
Esterhazy has a strong commitment to the game of hockey. Our families have generations of players that have played in our Dana Antal Arena. These players range from 3 to 70 years of age. The arena is a place where everyone feels at home. For a town with a population of just under 3,000 people – we are able to support 14 different hockey teams (that is over 210 players in total). We have a policy that if you want to play…we will find a way. Through local programs and equipment exchanges, we ensure that any child can play the amazing game that is hockey. The game of hockey also means a lot to our fans. We have grandparents that have attended four generations of hockey games from their family alone. The weekend means hockey practices, games and tournaments. Families call the Dana Antal Arena their “home away from home” during hockey season. Their evenings include shuffling kids from one practice to another, waiting at the arena for the practice to end and another to begin.
2. What arena project would most benefit from the prize money and what impact would this project have on your community?
The $100,000 in arena upgrades will go towards a much needed new roof for the arena and new flooring. The money will be a big help to contribute towards these costs. A new roof alone is $104,000.00. The current roof is leaking and must be replaced. The municipality’s budget is extremely tight and they have been putting off replacing the roof for a few years. This year it is imperative that the roof be changed. The existing flooring in the arena was donated by Mosaic (the local potash mine). It is actually used belting from the mine. It worked okay as in interim fix, however it is very “piecey” and hard to keep clean. A new floor will eliminate safety and tripping hazards for the arena. Both of these items will contribute to the community’s enjoyment of the arena and hockey. The roof and flooring will give the arena a much needed upgrade that will last for at least 20 to 30 years.
3. Why should your community be the next Kraft Hockeyville?
In Esterhazy, we live for hockey. Our Friday nights are inevitably spent at the arena watching the Esterhazy Senior Flyers take on their latest opponents. Weeknights are spent attending countless hours of practice to build tomorrow’s players. All of our coaches, managers, and minor hockey board members are volunteers from the community. These people spend their time ensuring that the game of hockey grows in Esterhazy. We not only coach kids from the Town of Esterhazy but also kids from surrounding rural communities. With Esterhazy being a primarily agricultural (farming) and mining community, a sense of pride and passion goes into the game of hockey. These farmers and miners rush home from a long day at work – lace up their skates, or their children’s skates and get them on the ice to learn and play their favorite game….HOCKEY. Esterhazy would be an ideal ambassador for Kraft as their Next Hockeyville because we have pride, spirit and class. WE LOVE HOCKEY AND WE LOVE KRAFT!!
With the nominations now closed, there is a brief judging period before voting takes place, as explained by the town of Esterhazy, “Voting hasn’t started yet. We are in the judging phase of the competition. The more times our page is shared via Facebook and the more comments we receive on our Hockeyville page we will get more points towards judging. The top 10 communities from the East and the West will then move onto the voting phase of the competition.”
Voting for the top 10 will start on March 10, with voting for the top 2 starting on March 20.
For more information, please visit the town of Esterhazy facebook (HERE).