Hockeyville victory modernizes Stirling’s arena

By Cam Kennedy and William Proulx

STIRLING-RAWDON – It’s been a year since this small municipality celebrated being named Canada’s Kraft Hockeyville and winning $100,000 to upgrade its arena.

The Hockeyville contest, hosted across Canada since 2006, was created by CBC Sports and sponsored by Kraft Foods, the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players Association. The winner is the town or city that is voted most committed to the sport of hockey.

Stirling-Rawdon won the contest in 2012. After weeks of campaigning and national voting, the win was a dream come true for the small-town arena.

Although the celebration of the win was delayed because of the lockout that hit the NHL in the 2012-13 season, Stirling-Rawdon received its $100,000 prize to go into maintaining and modernizing the Stirling District Recreation Centre.

The Hockeyville win also brought two NHL teams to the Quinte area. The Washington Capitals and the Winnipeg Jets played a preseason game at the Yardmen Arena on Sept. 14, 2013.

Now, a little over a year later, the arena has put the money to good use. An upgraded air-filtration system, bigger dressing rooms and recycled-rubber flooring are just some of the new additions made with the money.

“We had people that came from all around the world and voted for us and made this possible,” said arena manager Richard Dean.

Now that the upgrades are complete, the arena will no longer have the problems of scuffed floors, smelly rooms and nowhere for the female athletes to get dressed.

Sylvan Lake, Alta., has won the 2014 Hockeyville contest – but the passion will always live on in Stirling-Rawdon.

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