CADILLAC — After being named one of the four finalists this past spring, the Wex and its supporters celebrated finishing in second place for the Kraft Hockeyville USA 2019 competition by hosting a barbecue Thursday.
At the event, Shopper Marketing Analyst at The Kraft Heinz Company Emily Kosmin was in Cadillac to deliver a check for $10,000 to the facility for the second-place finish. Kraft's Hockeyville was in its fifth year of providing finances to ice rinks across the nation through a social media nomination and polling process.
During the competition, residents of a community are asked to submit photos, videos and stories as to why their local ice rink is so important to them. It was those submissions that led to the Wex becoming a finalist.
Cadillac Area Visitors Bureau Joy Van Drie said the donation is special because it infuses dollars from outside the area into the community that will support the community. In addition to the $10,000 to be used toward the facility, the National Hockey League Players’ Association also donated $10,000 to be used toward equipment purchases for the youth hockey programs in Cadillac as part of its Goals and Dreams fund.
The grand prize was $150,000 in rink upgrades and an NHL game to be played in that community. First place received $30,000 in upgrades while two second-place winners, including the Wex, each received $10,000.
The nomination process began on Jan. 1 and ran through 11:59 p.m. on March 2. Judging ran from March 3-8 and the Top 4 finalists were announced on March 24.
Voting on those four communities was held March 30-31 with the grand prize winner announced on March 31.
Calumet — and the 100-year-old Calumet Colosseum — were named the grand prize winner while Eagle River Sports Arena in Wisconsin finished as the runner-up. Finally, both the Wex and Bernicks Pepsi Arena in Minnesota received $10,000. Past winners have included Clinton, New York (2018); Belle Vernon, Penn. (2017); Marquette's Lakeview Arena (2016); and Johnstown, Penn. (2015)