*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:
ARE YOU KRAFT HOCKEYVILLE 2012?
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.