MARQUETTE — Marquette is Hockeyville USA. That was what the crowd hoped to hear on Saturday as they made their way to Lakeview Arena for a special viewing party of the Kraft Hockeyville USA announcement. And on this day, pretty much anyone involved in the local hockey scene was in attendance.

“It’s really cool, lots of energy, lots of people out here having a good time. It’s really cool to see a community like this come out for such a good cause and support this. It’s awesome,” Northern Michigan hockey player Jordan Klimek said.

“You know, I though there was going to be a big crowd here. But I didn’t have any idea I was going to have to walk a couple blocks to get here. There are so many people. You can tell the support the university has here. You can tell the support that the community has here, just by looking at all the jerseys of all the teams that have gone though here over time. It’s pretty impressive,” said Northern Michigan assistant hockey coach John Kyle.

And when the announcement was made, the crowd exploded in jubilation. Andrew MacIver, who led the way in promoting Lakeview Arena on social media, had a front row seat to the reaction of the crowd.

“Well it was really something else just seeing everyone else react. But for me to be front and center to see it all culminate with how everyone came together for this, it was really a group effort. And to actually see it come through like this, that we actually won, it’s been absolutely amazing, seeing the confetti flying in the air. It’s surreal and it still is. I’m still kind of on a high from it. It’s really great for our community and I’m so proud of this place. I couldn’t be more proud at this moment,” MacIver said.

Dr. Fredrick Hoenke wrote the winning essay for the competition that asked: “why does your community deserve to named Hockeyville USA?”

“I always knew it was. It’s nice to be recognized for it. And we’re really very grateful to Kraft. This means so much to us to have this money to make improvements in our rink and to get this kind of recognition  I’m really hopeful it also helps rejuvenate interest, and we get more and more kids into hockey. It’s the greatest sport there is, or I wouldn’t have written it,” Dr. Hoenke said.

Lakeview Arena will now receive $150,000 to be used for arena upgrades. They will also host an NHL pre–season game on October 4th between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Buffalo Sabres.