The arena at Strathcona Gardens could be in the running for the 2022 Kraft Hockeyville competition. File photo – Campbell River Mirror

The arena at Strathcona Gardens could be in the running for the 2022 Kraft Hockeyville competition. File photo – Campbell River Mirror

Strathcona Gardens eyes 2022 Kraft Hockeyville competition

Winner gets to host a pre-season NHL game and $250,000 to help fix their arena

The Strathcona Regional District is looking to put Campbell River on the map again for the 2022 Kraft Hockeyville competition.

The regional district voted to make an application for the Strathcona Gardens arena at their April 28 board meeting. The arena was last in the running in 2012, when they advanced to the second round of voting.

RELATED: Campbell River moves on to second round of Kraft Hockeyville title

The Kraft Hockeyville competition was designed to encourage participation in hockey, and gives communities a chance to get some funding to upgrade arenas that are in need of repair or refurbishing. The winner of the competition is awarded an NHL game played on local ice and $250,000 in arena upgrades. The three runners-up receive a prize of $25,000 for arena upgrades.

It is still early in the process, the 2022 application dates have not been announced yet. However, the goal is to use the time to come up with a compelling story to convince Canadians to vote for the community.

“The compelling story really is the foundation for success in this,” said Strathcona Gardens commissioner Colleen Evans at the commission meeting on April 14.

For example, the Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick won the 2021 competition. In September 2020, the First Nation’s Chief Young Eagle Recreation Centre was heavily damaged in a fire. The community’s story was compelling to people across the country, which helped bring in votes.

“There’s no question that this is a popularity contest,” said commission chair Andy Adams. “To be successful, you garner the most ground support to be able to do that.”

Since it has been 10 years since the regional district was part of the competition, some of the details were a bit fuzzy for some commissioners. Adams explained that staff would be looking into those details as things have likely changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and new social media technologies that have come out since 2012.

RELATED: Hometown Hockey visits home of the Big Stick on Vancouver Island

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