Twillingate has been named a community finalist for Kraft Hockeyville 2020.
In a normal year, the four national finalists would have been named by now and a winner chosen, but those plans — like so many others — were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic,
However, the prizes remain the same: $250,000 for upgrades to the community rink — which in Twillingate’s case is the George Hawkins Memorial Arena — and the opportunity to host a future National Hockey League pre-season game.
The Hawkins Arena — "The George" — is more than half a century old, having been constructed using a Second World War-era airplane hangar that been had been part of the American's war-time base in Gander.
Purchased for $1, the hangar had been dismantled by volunteers, transferred to Twillingate and reconstructed as an arena in 1969 at the site of what had been the community’s outdoor rink at Kiar’s Pond. It was named after George Hawkins, who had spearheaded the effort to construct the original outdoor rink.
“Our ice plant is aging. Our Zamboni is 32 years old. Everyone in the town is holding their breath." — Jeff Blackler
“Where do I start?,” asked Twillingate recreation director Jeff Blackler, when asked how the upgrade money could be used.
His comments came in an online video at krafthockeyville.ca which spotlighted Twillingate and its candidacy.
After the arena’s leak-damaged roof was shown, Blackler continued with other needs.
“Our ice plant is aging. Our Zamboni is 32 years old. Everyone in the town is holding their breath," he said.
Pense, Sask.; Saint-Félicien, Qué. and Tyne Valley, P.E.I. are the other finalists.
The next stage of the competitions sees the four communities being asked to demonstrate why they deserve to win those prizes, with virtual rallies and social media campaigns among the organizers' suggestions in order to comply with pandemic guidelines.
o determine the winner of Kraft Hockeyville 2020, Canadian residents who are 13 and older can vote online at krafthockeyville.ca. Voting opens 10:30 p.m. (NT) on Aug. 14 and closes at 7:30 p.m Aug. 15. Votes can only be cast on the website during the voting phase and voting is unlimited.
the final announcement will take place later Aug, 15 on Hockey Night in Canada on Sportsnet and CBC.
For full contest rules and program details, and to learn more about Twillingate’s bid, plus those of the other finalists, visit krafthockeyville.ca.