The Haliburton County community, as well as the City of Kawartha Lakes, is rallying for Bobcaygeon as it’s made the top four in this year’s Kraft Hockeyville competition.

Bobcaygeon is the only arena representing Ontario. Its competitors are in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick.

To help break down the barriers to community hockey and improve local arenas, Kraft Heinz, in partnership with the National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA), is awarding one community the grand prize of hosting an NHL pre-season game in their local arena, $250,000 for arena upgrades and the coveted title of Kraft Hockeyville Canada 2021.

As a finalist, Bobcaygeon is already guaranteed $25,000 in arena upgrades and $10,000 in new hockey equipment from the NHLPA Goals & Dreams Fund for deserving youth in the community.

City of Kawartha Lakes Coun. Kathleen Seymour-Fagan said, “Bobcaygeon is passionate about hockey and our local arena brings us together as fans, friends, family and ultimately as a community.

“To keep the game alive in our community, the arena needs accessibility upgrades to ensure that all players, regardless of age, gender or ability, are able to access the facility. Winning Kraft Hockeyville 2021 is a shot at opening the doors to new generations of hockey players and fans,” Seymour-Fagan said.

Local resident Mike Mudie nominated Bobcaygeon and Ann Adare has been instrumental in rallying the community to get to the final four.

“Our community is known for its heart. Even our slogan, ‘Three Islands, One Heart’ speaks to how we come together,” Adare said.

She added that in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bobcaygeon was hit hard with a devastating outbreak and the death of 28 residents at Pinecrest Nursing Home.

She said lockdowns have also meant businesses were shuttered, dealing a particularly difficult blow to a town relying on summer tourism.

Adare said Kawartha Lakes raised $190,000 that has gone back into the community to help support Bobcaygeon and area patients, families and health care workers in need of food, supplies, transportation and mental wellness counselling.

“This effort has left our community tapped out. There are no funds left to upgrade our arena which is now closed and facing an uncertain future. I’m glad this time we can come together for a happier purpose.

A Hockeyville win would ensure that the arena can reopen and upgrades would ensure that our arena can welcome everyone,” Adare said.

The existing arena was built in 1955 by volunteers after the community fundraised $100.000.

How to get involved

Register and vote for Bobcaygeon at krafthockeyville.ca. Voting opens April 9 at 9 a.m. and closes on April 10 at 5 p.m. The community that receives the most votes during the voting phase will be declared the grand prize winner. Voting is unlimited.

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