The St. Clements hockey community is starting to rally around the idea that it could be the next Hockeyville. The nomination is being led by resident Lisa Jacobs.
“Our sons are at that rink a lot playing hockey. We go public skating there all the time, and we also took in the St. Clements parade for the first time this year and it kind of finished off there with the Lions Club. I’ve always known about Hockeyville, so I just thought this arena could really use some TLC, so why not enter us in and see if we could win?” Jacobs said.
Each year Hockeyville, sponsored by Kraft, provides the winning community with $250,000 for arena upgrades. The winning arena also hosts an NHL pre-season game. Three runners-up will receive $25,000.
The community’s “rally page” on the Hockeyville website has more than 60 entries from community members.
“This arena is the hub of our little town. From sporting events to parties in the community centre, everyone knows that it will be a good time,” one post said.
“This arena has had the community and passion for hockey my whole life. Growing up in St. Clements, the arena was a go-to. [There were] always people there to help you and teach you, from power skating to practices,” said another.
The upgrades are sorely needed at the arena, Jacobs said.
“It just seems like we always have issues. There are doors that don’t open; there are certain things in the dressing rooms, the bathrooms are really outdated, very small. And the main lobby entrance is like really congested when one team or two teams are leaving and two new teams are coming in – it’s pretty tight in there, so we just thought some of this money could help to benefit and just improve the arena a little bit,” Jacobs explained.
However, Danny Roth, director of recreation for Wellesley Township, said it would be tough for him to comment on the state of the arena and the Hockeyville nomination.
“It is an older building, there’s no question, but there has been money spent in that facility for a number of years,” Roth said.
Jacobs said the goal of the nomination is to help keep the rink going.
“I just feel like it’s so good for the community to have this arena because it just creates a lot of social interaction for so many different walks of life, so many different people and just brings the community together. After the last couple of years with the pandemic and everything that’s gone on to separate us, I think this is a great thing that’s just going to help to bring us back together again,” she added.
The nomination phase of the competition lasts until February 19. During this period the nominated communities will be judged based on two categories: the nomination itself, which represents 80 per cent of the total score, and rally points which make up the other 20.
There are several ways to earn rally points, including submitting a nomination story (10 points), sharing the community’s page on Twitter (five points), adding a photo (three points) while adding a note or reacting to a post or a photo with an emoji get one point each.
Following the rally stage the top four communities will be announced on March 11. A voting phase will be open from 9 a.m. on March 31 to 5 p.m. on April 1, when a winner will be named.