CALUMET — Excitement is high in the Copper Country as voting is set to begin Saturday for Kraft’s Hockeyville USA Contest. If a majority of votes were acquired, the Calumet Colosseum could receive $150,000 to be used for facility upgrades, and would also get to host an NHL Game in the upcoming season. Voting will be done on line and to help ensure that everyone in the area has a chance to vote, the Colosseum’s support effort has acquired additional support from Michigan Tech’s IT department.
The oldest indoor hockey rink in North America is amongst four in a tri-state region who have made it to the final round of this year’s contest.
“I know people have been busy try to figure out how to let other people know,” said John Carroll, a Spokesman for the Calumet Colosseum. “Facebook has gone crazy, people are excited and people all over the area are doing what they can to get the word out about voting.”
Moral is high, and at 7:00am Saturday morning voting begins, where supporters will use their electronic devices to log into www.krafthockeyville.com and cast their votes. If you don’t have internet or electronic access to do so, that’s not a problem at all. Michigan Tech’s IT department will be installing a PC at the Colosseum to be used for public voting.
“Saturday morning voting will open up at 7:00 am,” said Reilly Schreiber, the rink manager. “There will be a machine there and you can submit your vote. Feel free to walk in and submit your vote, or you can simply go on your own computer, smart phone, or tablet and submit your vote as well. People walk up it should be a pretty quick and easy process to submit your vote.”
There is no limit on how often you can vote, however voting hours are only open from Saturday morning until Sunday morning for a total of 28 hours.
“The first year that they did this in the United States there was some excitement because Sault Ste. Marie had been nominated and a lot of people around here voted for the Soo to help them out,” said Carroll. “When Marquette won, people around there supported them as well. The hockey community, especially in the Upper Peninsula, is pretty close.”
If the Colosseum were to win, the grand prize of $150,000 would go to upgrades, but with the hosting of a Pre season NHL game as part of the deal, Carroll says that such a win would be great for the local economy.
“You’ve got two NHL teams coming into town. Coaches, trainers, their support staff,” Carroll said. “They’re going to be here for two or three days at least. Then you have all of the people from NBC coming in and we’re talking about more technicians, camera men… so you’re going to have that, you’re going to have NHL people coming into town. They’re going to be staying here, eating here, drinking here. I think over all the economic benefit is going to be way greater than just the $150,000.”
This year’s winning ice rink will be announced on Monday, April 1st.
“We hope everyone throws their weight behind the Colosseum,” said Carroll. “I can’t help but to think that in another couple years, it’s going to be the Dee in Houghton, and the Dee will get nominated. We’ll turn around and folks in Calumet will support the Dee someday.”