The Calumet Colosseum is the winner in the 2019 Kraft Hockeyville USA contest. Thousands of non-robots voted during the 28-hour period Saturday and Sunday, enough to put the world’s oldest still-in-use indoor hockey rink at the top.
A crowd of roughly 200 people crammed into the concourse at the Colosseum to hear the announcement.
And the crowd erupted into cheers and chants of Calumet–and probably one huge sigh of relief for rink manager Mark Peters. “I was nervous,” Peters said. “I was shaking before it was announced and when it was announced, I was totally excited and pumped and excited for the community itself.”
It’s an honor befitting the historic rink, one that 80-year-old Calumet resident Marilyn Lightfoot was excited to see. She remembers skating at the Colosseum when it still had natural ice.
“We’d come here and skate and it was as cold as could be because to keep the natural ice in form, they’d have to open all the windows, but at least we weren’t outdoors,” she said. “We had a lot of outdoor rinks in the area but we always loved it when we could come inside and skate.”
Lightfoot says Calumet deserves to be named Hockeyville USA. “It’s a very historic arena and it’s been used by decades of people and I’m not alone—we’re just so proud to have achieved this honor from Kraft. It’s tremendous.”
As the winner of the contest, the Calumet Colosseum will receive $150,000 in rink upgrades and get to host an NHL preseason game this fall. But the title goes to all of the people who helped make the Colosseum Hockeyville USA.
“This is the backbone of the community for the winter months and a lot of these faces I see here today, I see them at hockey games throughout the year,” said Peters.”
The Eagle River Sports Arena in Eagle River, Wisconsin was the first runner-up and will receive $30,000 in rink upgrades. The Wexford County Civic Center in Cadillac, Michigan and the Bernicks Pepsi Arena in Sartell, Minnesota will each get $10,000.
In addition to rink upgrades from Kraft Heinz, each rink will be awarded $10,000 worth of new hockey equipment on behalf of the NHLPA Goals & Dreams fund.