The votes are in! Canada names North Saanich Kraft Hockeyville 2015

Annual program rebuilds local hockey in 10 Canadian communities, awarding $400,000 for arena upgrades

North Saanich to host NHL® Pre-Season Game between Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks

TORONTO, April 4, 2015 /CNW/ - Tonight, millions of votes and countless rallying cries culminated in North Saanich, B.C. being named Kraft Hockeyville 2015 in Canada. During a live spot on Hockey Night in CanadaTM, NHL® commissioner Gary Bettman announced that North Saanich will receive the opportunity to host an NHL® Pre-Season Game between Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks, and $100,000 to build a dedicated home-team locker room in their arena. In its ninth season, Kraft Hockeyville remains committed to investing in community arenas to help keep the game alive from coast-to-coast.

The Panorama Recreation Centre Hockey Arena plays an essential role in bringing together fans, friends, and family in North Saanich. The centre is home to the Saanich Peninsula's only hockey facility; however, it does not have a dedicated home-team locker room where players can store their equipment and join together before and after games. In its quest for the Kraft Hockeyville title, the community organized several events, including a voting party at the rink with free skating, and received an outpouring of support from many local organizations.

"Congratulations North Saanich on winning the title of Kraft Hockeyville 2015! Your unwavering dedication to your local arena inspires us," says Jack Hewitt, vice president of portfolio marketing, Kraft Canada. "Communities build hockey and hockey builds communities. Now, ten incredible communities have the funds to upgrade their rinks and protect the future of hockey and the community spirit it fosters."

"Kraft Hockeyville generates memories that will last a lifetime for the people who showed such incredible passion for their community as well as their love for hockey," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said. "The National Hockey League is proud to honour that enthusiastic support by providing a pre-season game to the winner and by working to ensure that future generations of players have well-maintained rinks at which to skate."

"We would like to congratulate North Saanich on being awarded Kraft Hockeyville for 2015," said Trevor Linden, president of hockey operations, Vancouver Canucks. "Our organization feels very fortunate to have such a passionate fan base and strong following across our home province. We are committed to bringing our team to communities throughout British Columbia and look forward to getting the opportunity to celebrate with and help put on an NHL®-calibre game for the community of North Saanich."

"We're thrilled to have been invited to participate in Kraft Hockeyville 2015," said Sharks chief operating officer John Tortora.  "Kraft Hockeyville is a wonderful program, bringing exciting National Hockey League action and well-deserved hockey resources to deserving communities all over North America and the Sharks organization is looking forward to visiting North Saanich this fall."

The top 10 communities that will receive funds to improve their local arenas include: Dawson Creek, B.C.; North Saanich, B.C.; Bonnyville, Alta.; Morinville, Alta.; Morden, Man.; Chatham-Kent, Ont.; Haliburton, Ont.; Saint-Joseph-de-Beauce, Que.; Middleton, N.S.; and Happy Valley-Goose Bay, N.L. From change room repairs to access to better ice surfaces, each community shared a different, heart-warming story about the upgrades needed to keep hockey thriving in their hometown.  

Local arenas have a significant impact on shaping communities across Canada and, in turn, these communities have defined the spirit of hockey.  Repairs and upgrades to these rinks are crucial to maintaining a critical part of Canada's cultural identity. 

This year, a total of 1,037 community stories were submitted, 10 of which moved on to the voting rounds. Across two voting rounds, Canadians cast millions of votes, finally narrowing the field to one. Chatham-Kent, Ont. is the second place community.

ABOUT KRAFT HOCKEYVILLE

Kraft Hockeyville 2015, in partnership with the National Hockey League® (NHL) and the National Hockey League Players' Association® (NHLPA), is awarding:

  • One grand prize of hosting an NHL® Pre-Season Game broadcast nationally on Sportsnet, $100,000 for arena upgrades and the title of Kraft Hockeyville;
  • $100,000 in arena upgrades for the second place community; and
  • $25,000 for each of the remaining eight prize winners.

Learn more at Facebook.com/KraftHockeyville, and join the conversation with @hockeyville using the hashtags #KHV2015 and #KraftHockeyville.

For the past nine years, Kraft Hockeyville has been inspiring communities across Canada to share their passion for the game. This year, for the first time, the program has extended into the U.S. and communities south of the border now have a chance to be the first Kraft Hockeyville USA. Nominations closed on March 18, and Americans can vote for their favourite top ten community beginning April 14. Kraft Hockeyville in Canada will continue to support Canadian communities only.

ABOUT KRAFT FOODS GROUP

Kraft Foods Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: KRFT) is one of North America's largest consumer packaged food and beverage companies, with annual revenues of more than $18 billion.  The company's iconic brands include Kraft, Capri Sun, JELL-O, Kool-Aid, Lunchables, Maxwell House, Oscar Mayer, Philadelphia, Planters and Velveeta.  Kraft's 22,000 employees in the U.S. and Canada have a passion for making the foods and beverages people love.  Kraft is a member of the Standard & Poor's 500 and the NASDAQ-100 indices.  For more information about Kraft, visit www.kraftfoodsgroup.com and www.facebook.com/kraft.  For delicious recipes, tips and information on Kraft products, visit www.kraftcanada.com

ABOUT THE NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE

The National Hockey League (NHL®), founded in 1917, consists of 30 Member Clubs, each reflecting the League's international makeup with players from more than 20 countries represented on team rosters, vying for the most cherished and historic trophy in professional sports – the Stanley Cup®. Every year the NHL entertains more than 250 million fans in-arena and through its partners on national television and radio; more than 10 million fans on its social platforms; and more than 300 million fans online at NHL.com. In Canada, the 2014-15 season marks the beginning of a landmark 12-year broadcast and multimedia agreement with Rogers Communications, which includes national rights to NHL games on all platforms in all languages. In the U.S., the NHL is in the fourth season of its 10-year agreement with NBC and NBCSN, the 10th consecutive season both networks have served as national television partners. The NHL is committed to giving back to the community with programs including: Hockey is for Everyone™, which supports nonprofit youth hockey organizations across North America; Hockey Fights Cancer™, raising money for local and national cancer organizations; NHL Green™, which is committed to pursuing sustainable business practices; and a partnership with the You Can Play Project, which is committed to supporting the LGBT community and fighting homophobia in sports. The NHL received three 2014 Sports Business Awards: "Sports League of the Year," "Sports Executive of the Year" recognizing Commissioner Gary Bettman, and "Sports Event of the Year" for the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®. For more information, visit NHL.com.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYERS' ASSOCIATION

The National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA), established in 1967, is a labour organization whose members are the players in the National Hockey League (NHL). The NHLPA works on behalf of the players in varied disciplines such as labour relations, product licensing, marketing, international hockey and community relations, all in furtherance of its efforts to promote its members and the game of hockey. In 1999, the NHLPA launched the Goals & Dreams fund as a way for the players to give something back to the game they love. Over the past 15 years, more than 70,000 deserving children in 32 countries have benefited from the players' donations of hockey equipment. NHLPA Goals & Dreams has donated more than $22-million to grassroots hockey programs, making it the largest program of its kind. For more information on the NHLPA, please visit www.nhlpa.com

National Hockey League, NHL and the NHL Shield are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. NHL and NHL team marks are the property of the NHL and its teams. © NHL 2015. All Rights Reserved.

NHLPA, National Hockey League Players' Association and the NHLPA logo are trademarks of the NHLPA. © NHLPA.

SOURCE Kraft Foods Group

Image with caption: "Wayne Ruffle, chair of Panorama Centre Commission and Jason Fletcher, North Saanich, BC community volunteer and local hockey supporter stand inside the Panorama Recreation Centre Hockey Arena. The two are celebrating North Saanich being named Kraft Hockeyville 2015 in Canada. The annual program is awarding North Saanich $100,000 to build a much-needed home-team locker room in their arena where players can store their equipment and meet before and after games. (CNW Group/Kraft Foods Group)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150404_C6452_PHOTO_EN_13927.jpg

Image with caption: "Kraft Foods Group (CNW Group/Kraft Foods Group)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150404_C6452_PHOTO_EN_13928.jpg

For further information: Contacts: Jennifer Austen, Edelman, Cell: 1-647-289-7826, Office: 1-416-849-3172, jennifer.austen@edelman.com; Kathy Murphy, Kraft Canada, 1-416-441-5610, news@kraftfoods.com

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