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Get ready to vote: Community rink could win big

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Posted on April 5, 2018 |
By Andy Kirkaldy



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UPGRADES TO THE second floor of the Memorial Sports Center in Middlebury could be helped along if Vermonters rally behind the project and help the sports center win a $150,000 prize by voting online next week. Among the planned upgrades is a second-floor glass viewing area where this mural by Thatcher Littlefield currently spans. Independent file photo/Trent Campbell

MIDDLEBURY — Supporters of Addison County hockey and of Middlebury’s Memorial Sports Center should be ready to act on April 13 and 14.

That’s when they can vote online between midnight on that Friday and 11 a.m. on that Saturday (that's all day next Friday and most of Saturday morning) to help the Memorial Sports Center win $150,000 to complete long-planned upgrades to the rink, including public restrooms, a “family-friendly headed viewing area,” and an elevator.

The amount of the grand prize money equals the construction estimates, according to a Memorial Sports Center press release.

Oh, and the area’s hockey community can also win the right to call itself “Kraft Hockeyville USA 2018” — and to host an NHL preseason game — if it outvotes supporters of rinks in larger communities of Shreveport, La., and Brandon, S.D, and the smaller town of Clinton, N.Y.

According to contest organizers the first runner-up will receive $30,000 toward rink upgrades, and the other two rinks will each receive $10,000.

The Memorial Sports Center made the final four of the Kraft Hockeyville USA competition, according to the rink press release, because, “The Addison County community contributed hundreds of stories, pictures, and videos that showcased Vermont’s love of hockey and dedication to area families.”

But the ultimate winner, according to a Kraft Hockeyville press release, will come down to online participation during that 35-hour period:

“Public voting takes place with live online updates throughout the day. Fans can visit www.KraftHockeyville.com and follow links to vote through the website. The community with the most cumulative votes on the website and Twitter, subject to final sponsor determination, will win the title of ‘Kraft Hockeyville USA 2018.’”

According to the Memorial Sports Center press release, supporters can vote early and vote often: “You can vote multiple times and we’ll need every vote to win.”

The rules limit voters to one Twitter ballot, but they may log on to the Hockeyville site multiple times to pick their favorite.

The Hockeyville USA winner will be announced during a national NHL broadcast on NBC Sports Network during the afternoon of April 14. According to Friends of Middlebury Hockey president Michael McAuliffe organization of a community viewing party for that game is in the works, but details have not been nailed down yet.

Given what’s at stake, local hockey lovers are doing all they can to publicize the upcoming vote.  

“We’ll need your help to spread the word and get everyone to vote for Middlebury if we want to win the grand prize and be named Kraft Hockeyville 2018,” reads the rink’s press release. “Spread the word! Share the videos and posts from the Memorial Sports Center Facebook page and from www.krafthockeyville.com with all your family and friends.”

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