goderich hockeyville 2012

Why I’m Conflicted about Goderich’s bid for Hockeyville 2012

goderich hockeyville 2012

*Note: Since posting this (quick personal opinion) blog, this article about the state of affairs at Goderich’s Memorial Arena, which is run by the Maitland Recreation Centre (hence why Maitland is listed as the arena on the bid) was brought to my attention. I admit I was not aware of all of the issues at the arena, nor that the “old arena” would be receiving the money if Goderich wins. That clears up a couple of my concerns. Thank you, Goderich Hockeyville people, for correcting me.

As I say in my comment below, my main concern now is whether by winning, Goderich might prevent a more deserving community with an arena in even worse shape from getting necessary repairs. I tried to find out the condition of the arenas of other contenders, but wasn’t able to before getting this post out. I would welcome any information you could share. If it becomes clear that Goderich’s Memorial Arena is in a state that is comparable to, or worse off, than the other communities vying for this money, I would get behind this thing 150%.

Again: this is my opinion! Controversial thoughts are important… they help keep people honest and communities healthy. Please don’t take this the wrong way!


Normally, I am a community promoter. You should be able to tell that from my Locality series. I think that not enough people are excited about some of the great things in their own backyards.

I’m conflicted, however, about voting for my hometown to be Hockeyville* 2012.

What is Hockeyville? Here’s what the official rules have to say:


From a downtown community neighbourhood rink in Vancouver to a small community in New Brunswick, hockey communities exist all over this country, but which one has what it takes to be the best? Kraft Hockeyville 2012 (the   “Competition”),   presented by   Kraft   Canada Inc., the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, NHL Enterprises Canada, L.P., and the National Hockey League Players’   Association   (collectively,   the   “Sponsors”),   is   the   unique   and   exciting competition designed to find out which Canadian community stands above all the others. The Competition  will  seek  out  the  community  that  best  exemplifies Canada’s  spirit.  It’s  the  ultimate Canadian Competition!

The  winning  community  (the  “Grand  Prize  Winning  Community”)  will  win  the  experience  of  a lifetime, including:
● “Kraft  Hockeyville  2012”  title  and  trophy
● The opportunity to host an NHL® pre-season  hockey  game  (the  “Game”)
● $100,000 to be used for upgrades to the Home Arena that the winning Entrant nominates (as such terms are defined below)

In addition, the Grand Prize Winning Community will be featured on a CBC television broadcast related to the Game in the fall of 2012, at a date to be determined by the Sponsors in their sole discretion.

On Saturday night, after Hockey Night in Canada, my hometown of Goderich, Ontario was named one of 15 communities in the running for 2012’s Hockeyville title, which comes with all the advantages mentioned above.

Here are the things that I think are great about this competition:

  • It is building community spirit in a town that was recently struck a few blows with the loss of a couple of big employers, and August’s F3 tornado, which damaged much of our downtown core, resulted in 25 houses (this number is one that I haven’t been able to either substantiate or disprove. Perhaps I should walk around town and count.) being written off, and damaged many others.
  • Hosting an NHL pre-season game will introduce more people to a town that I think is pretty great, and further unite the people of the community that actually care about it

I am concerned about some other aspects, though.

What about the people of Goderich that still don’t have houses?

What about other Canadian communities that don’t have two functioning arenas, one of which was built within the last ten years?

Does our newest arena (the one that is nominated in the competition) really need $100,000 worth of upgrades? It’s not even 10 years old!

Are we using the whole “our town had a tornado” card as a sympathy bid? Is it appropriate if we are? There are communities in Canada that don’t have enough houses for their people, let alone two functioning arenas! (think Attawapiskat, for one)

While I do believe that some of the people of Goderich could use help getting their houses and lives back after the tornado, I have a hard time believing that getting money as an arena upgrade really helps the town.

I guess what I’m saying is that I am okay with Goderich winning the title of Hockeyville 2012, but I would ask whether we really are the most deserving of that $100,000. Is it fair for us to use our two arenas to bulk up our Hockeyville bid with special events when other towns may have only one functioning arena that may need some serious repair?

I have not done extensive research on the other 14 communities, so I don’t know what their needs are, but I would love to see Goderich named Hockeyville 2012, then donate the $100,000 to a community that is worse off than we are. It’s probably not possible: I assume the funds are specifically allocated to be used for the winning arena.

But wouldn’t that be fantastic? Wouldn’t that make you even prouder of Goderich?

As it stands, I am not sure I can vote with a  clear conscience.

*I am purposely leaving out “Kraft”, even though it is the official title, because it doesn’t matter to me or the average Goderich-ite which giant corporation is sponsoring this contest, and they don’t need the little guy to help their business by mentioning their brand.

10 thoughts on “Why I’m Conflicted about Goderich’s bid for Hockeyville 2012

  1. What you may not know (have failed to address at least) is that Memorial is in desperate need of repair. Within a very short time it will not be a “functioning arena” without an influx of substantial funds. The dasher boards are leaning outwards from years of ice pressure and the zamboni is one of the oldest, operating ice resurfacers in the world.

    Goderich alone has a population of 8,000 and the surrounding rural area uses the arena as well. Thirty five hockey teams, ringette, figure skating…the list goes on. Ice time in Goderich is hard to come by even with the two arenas running.

    Where would you propose the funds to repair Memorial come from? Perhaps if we can win Hockeyville, that is $100,000 less dollars that the town has to put into Memorial and can be used to help those tornado victims you refer to.

    I’m all for expressing your opinion, however I’m also for journalists who research their subject matter BEFORE expressing their opinion. Perhaps you will learn to do so before you graduate.

    • I did not know that, until I read this article by Goderich Hockeyville today. To me, the arena seems to meet the needs of our community, though it definitely is aged and could use a facelift.

      I do not contest that Memorial could use money for an update. I am wondering about the cost of ice time – does that not get invested into arena repairs, etc.?

      You’ll notice I did not say Goderich should refuse the money. What I am saying is that I am not sure whether Goderich is the most deserving community.

      Yes, community spirit is invaluable. Yes, this has brought much community spirit to Goderich, and I love it. And, if Goderich’s arena situation really is as dire as you and the article say, which I have no reason not to believe, and I were to find out that the other top 15 communities are in a situation similar or better off than we are, I would get behind this thing 150%.

      I am not saying I absolutely won’t vote, nor that other people shouldn’t. I am merely expressing some personal concerns. I tried to research the other communities but wasn’t able to find much real information about the condition of their arenas. So, I was left wondering…

      I appreciate your feedback, and the knowledge that you bring to this issue. I do not appreciate, however, the suggestion that I am incompetent. I tried to find information, but I didn’t have enough time to spend hours looking for repair records at 15 arenas. Again, as you say, this is my personal opinion, not a journalistic article.

  2. Hello, I agree 100% that the bid using the tornado as a tool to win hockeyville; it’s something that is very cheesy, and I am sure it will work as i saw some other bids mention they dont like that, and at the same time it looks like cbc will buy into it and make a big deal out of it later. But all communties have sad stories and tradegy, it is only us who is capitalizing on this. I love my community but dont feel comfortable at all in the way this has been marketed.

    • Thanks for your comment, John.
      It’s a weird thing, the tornado factor, I mean. It is a big deal for Goderich, but it wasn’t on the scale of Slave Lake, you know?
      I would be happy for Goderich if it wins, but I agree that I hope we’re not taking advantage of the tragedies of several of our neighbours and local businesspeople.

  3. Again, there seems to be assumptions being made without any research. Have you looked at the 2,141 submissions, the facebook page posts and the publicity surrounding Goderich’s bid for Hockeyville? The community has found something positive to rally around and the tornado has not been used to garner support. This community wants to forget about that tragedy for a bit and Hockeyville has provided them that opportunity.

    The Hockeyville winner is supposed to be the community which displays the best “community spirit” and “passion for hockey”…Not the community that needs an arena the most nor the community that has the least or greatest tragedy affecting them. Those who would harm the Goderich bid seem to be the ones consistently bringing up this summer’s tragedy.

    Did you know that Goderich had more submissions for Hockeyville than any other community in the country? That at the Jan 31st deadline they had more member support than any other community? That Goderich has more likes on their Facebook page than any other community in the country? That just about every business in town decorated there windows in support of Hockeyville? That the first ever PeeWee hockey tournament in the world was played in Goderich in 1950 and is still going strong 63 years later? That many of the inaugural meetings of the first Team Canada were held in Goderich? That the OMHA ranked Goderich as one of the top 10 centers in which to play minor hockey? There simply isn’t a community in Canada with a greater hockey history and or more passion for the sport than Goderich. GODERICH IS HOCKEYVILLE!

    Give you head a shake and get past the tornado. It’s what we here in Goderich are trying to do.

    • Mr. Hockeyville,

      I agree – Goderich’s efforts to achieve the rank of Hockeyville 2012 are impressive. And it truly does seem as if many people are on board, which is fabulous.

      You’ll notice that I said that I support the community spirit aspect of the Hockeyville endeavour 100%. Also, since learning more about the state of the old arena, my doubts grew much less substantial.

      Please remember that I was merely presenting an honest opinion, a feeling, a question, not a journalistic nor academic opposition piece.

      Not to turn this into a philosophical or ethical debate, but should I not be allowed to question something merely because the majority seem to be on board? Do you know what happens when voices with different views are silenced?

      You also seem to think that I am an outsider. I, too, am from Goderich. I, too, was there that day. I was not personally affected, though, and I cannot presume to know what it was like. My post here contained a question, wondering about what those people that were personally involved felt about the town receiving money to repair an arena, when some still don’t have roofs over their heads. I know Hockeyville is about much more than the money, and I believe the community spirit it has raised has done great things for Goderich. But again: am I not allowed to ask, to wonder?

      I wish my town the best, and I will certainly celebrate wholeheartedly if (when?) we win.

  4. Sarah,

    My issue isn’t the fact that you (or your commentators) question the motives of our town. It is that you do so without doing any research on the bid. We have not used the tornado to win Hockeyville. If anything, we have used Hockeyville to raise the spirits of an amazing community. Nor have we forgotten our friends and neighbours who are suffering. In most cases (and I can confirm this personally) they are right beside us cheering for Goderich Hockeyville.

    Goderich has a rich hockey history that rivals that of any town in Canada. Simply look at the top 50 reasons as outlined on our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=187628781340701. I would encourage your readers to join our facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/GoderichHockeyville and find the truth about our rich hockey history and our bid.

    Should we not have bid on Hockeyville because we were tragically struck by a tornado this summer? Does that tragedy automatically put us out of the running for this honour? Must people (sadly it seems, even a few of our own residents) cast aspersions on our intentions without looking at the facts? Must the honest and sincere efforts of an entire community be diminished by the uneducated ramblings of a few who would state “facts” that just aren’t true?

    We had 2,141 submissions on the Hockeyville website about why we are the Canadian community that deserves to be named Hockeyville. That is at least 1,000 more than the next closest Canadian community (including centers much larger than our 8,000 residents). I challenge you to find 1% that would even reference the tornado let alone state that it has ANYTHING to do with our bid.

    It isn’t the contrary opinion that is offensive here. It is the fact that the contrary opinion is uneducated, opinionated and totally lacking in substance.

    • I have been thinking all morning about the best way to reply to this…

      I think perhaps we should shake hands and say “good game”, because you continue to try to convince me of the legitimacy of Goderich’s eligibility, I continue to insist that I no longer question it, you call me “uneducated” and incompetent, and I defend my right to an opinion.

      If I were interested in officially submitting a complaint or a concern, you can bet I would have gone and interviewed the Hockeyville organizers (yourself!), arena staff and owners, and tornado victims of Goderich, and I would have sought out other representatives in other Hockeyville finalists. I am not interested in doing that. I am merely expressing the apparently “lacking in substance” thoughts and questions of a handful of Goderichites.

      I apologize – offense was not my (our) intent. I also congratulate you on your efforts to unify the people of Goderich, and I look forward to seeing the results of the top 5 this Saturday.

  5. After the F3 tornado landed on a quiet Sunday afternoon in late August, Goderich was in shock. It was the worst tornado to hit Ontario in 16 years, causing an estimated $100 million in damage. The arenas became command posts and emergency shelters. Hundreds were homeless, a majority of the local businesses were damaged or destroyed and many found themselves instantly unemployed. The minor hockey executive wondered…should we delay tryouts? Absolutely NOT, was the unanimous response of the town’s residents. Despite the destruction, the state of emergency and the clean-up efforts, within days the children of Goderich were on the ice preparing for the upcoming season. And the children gave back, donning their hockey jerseys to canvass homes in a bottle drive that raised over $5,000 for the Goderich & Area Disaster Relief Fund.

    this is on goderich’s hockeyville fb site, and there are many more if one searches online, so dont apologize for saying what a few tried to do… u were right on

    • Darren,

      I’m not sure if you’re supporting me or my “Mr. Hockeyville” commenter, but thank you for your comment!

      I do regret that Goderich didn’t make it past the semi-finals. I came to believe it would be a great thing for our hometown.

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