Princeton’s hopes of Kraft Hockeyville glory – along with its accompanying $250,000 – were dashed Saturday, May 7 when Sydney, NS was announced as the winner during an NHL playoff game.
As one of four finalists in the annual contest Princeton will receive $25,000 for arena upgrades.
“We’re a little disappointed,” admitted Mayor Spencer Coyne. “Still, I’m humbled and honored that Princeton was even in the top four.”
The town had hoped to win and use the prize money to replace the arena roof, which is currently held together with tarps, weighted down by tires.
Sydney’s plan for the money is to reopen a shuttered rink that will give girls and women’s teams equal access to ice time.
“If we had to lose to anyone, I’m happy we lost to Sydney. It’s a good cause,” said Coyne, who immediately sent a congratulatory video to the winning organization.
Excitement was high in Princeton Saturday, as people planned ‘watch parties.’ Town council gathered in chambers, along with some staff and family members, to wait for the announcement.
They appeared on the broadcast, during the first period intermission in the Pittsburgh Penguin-New York Rangers game, via Zoom.
Sean McHaffie, who spearheaded the town’s Hockeyville application, held a party at his restaurant, Frannie’s Coffee.
Coyne said there were many positive outcomes from the Hockeyville experience
“We had the entire community, the region and all of B.C. right behind us…There was community pride and community spirit.”
Through extensive print, radio and television exposure “everyone knows about Princeton now, and for something positive.”
The town will continue to make efforts to upgrade the Princeton and District Arena.
The 2022 budget allows for $1 million in arena improvements, however all the scheduled projects are dependent on grant funding that has yet to awarded.
“We’ve got applications out,” said Coyne. “We have a lot of work to do still.”
Priorities for the arena are the new roof, solar panels, and a new ice cleaning machine.
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