Max Winters is one of the people who worked on the Hockeyville application.
When Mr. Winters moved to Happy Valley from Makkovik at the age of nine, he played hockey on the creeks and ponds and whatever was frozen.
Sticks were made from birch trees and pucks were made from squashed tin cans. The goalie posts were often two upright boots.
Outdoor rinks were carved out over the years but proved hard to maintain.
In 1955 an arena was constructed on the local military base but ice time was very limited for anyone living off base.
A group of Happy Valley volunteers decided in 1962 that it was time to build their own rink.
Over the next 12 years, the topic was discussed and a group of interested volunteers came together and were able to secure some provincial government funding. The only catch was the group had to raise $10,000 to contribute towards the project.
Mr. Winters was one member of the original arena fund committee.
Between community donations, dances and music request shows, the money was raised and in 1974 the Happy Valley Arena was officially opened (It was renamed the E.J. Broomfield arena in 1986).
The 37 year-old structure has had some renovations over the years but it has more on the list.
“We are trying to do our due diligence,” said councillor Arlene Michelin, who also contributed to the Hockeyville proposal. She said the roof is in need of repair.
“If we want to keep our arena for the next 50 years it has to be done.”
That is where Hockeyville comes in. The winning town of Hockeyville not only gets to host an actual NHL game at their home arena and experience an airing of Hockey Night in Canada, they also get $100,000 towards arena upgrades. The top 5 Hockeyville finalists each get $25,000 for arena upgrades and a CBC Hockey Night in Canada broadcast from the community.
Kevin Lane, the town’s recreation manager explained that the money is mostly needed for the roof but that they hope to eventually upgrade the floor covering where there is now plywood to cover the ice as well.
Mr. Lane put together the proposal for Hockeyville with the help of four Happy Valley-Goose Bay residents and former members of the Happy Valley Athletic Association—Max Winters, Melvin Roberts, Walter Perrault and Gordie Rendell.
The men put together their hockey memories and desires for the future of hockey in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and sent off the proposal for judging.
Ms. Michelin has words of praise for the work of her colleague.
“Kevin is very proactive,” she said. “Ideas may come from 100 different places but Kevin does all the ground work.”
The Happy Valley-Goose Bay proposal was set to be accessible online as of January 20. The proposal, along with photos and stories can be viewed www.krafthockeyville.ca.
Submissions are due by January 31 and Mr. Lane said they hope to see the towns name on the shortlist, which will be announced on March 8.
Of these top 10 towns, the top 5 will be chosen by audience vote between March 8 and March 13. Voters will again have the opportunity to vote—time for a first place town—between March 19 and March 21 on the Hockeyville website.
Hockey Night in Canada will be broadcast live from the final five communities and the winning town will be announced.
The NHL game will be played in the winning community between July 1 and September 30, 2011.