The Eagle River Hockey Arena has been named among four finalists that are vying for the title of Kraft Hockeyville™ USA 2019, and the grand prize winner will receive $150,000 in rink upgrades.

The winner will be determined through a 28-hour period of unlimited nationwide voting that begins this Saturday, March 30, at 6 a.m. CDT. The voting ends in this area at 10 a.m., Sunday, March 31. Voting information can be obtained at KraftHockeyville.com.

While each of the four finalists will receive some funds for rink upgrades and $10,000 in hockey equipment from Kraft Heinz, only the grand prize winner will get $150,000 and the opportunity to host an NHL preseason game. The runner-up will receive $30,000 in rink upgrades and the other two will receive $10,000 each.

The winner will be announced live during an intermission of an NHL game on NBCSN March 31. The program is in partnership with the National Hockey League Players’ Association and the National Hockey League.

What great timing this promotion is for the Eagle River Recreation Association (ERRA), a nonprofit organization that just initiated a $1.5 million capital fundraising campaign to make major repairs to the historic hockey dome’s ice-making system.

Voters have added incentive to cast their online ballots this year, as one lucky voter will win a trip for two to a Stanley Cup Final game with round-trip air transportation, two nights accommodations, two tickets to the game and $1,500 spending money. Each vote cast for any of the four finalists equals one entry into the sweepstakes for up to 40 entries.

Why vote for Eagle River? This rural hockey community has produced Division 1 college players, an Olympian and an NHL standout. It hosts the Labatt Blue/USA Hockey National Pond Hockey Championships annually. It is home to the Wisconsin Hockey Hall of Fame.

We encourage every reader of the newspaper to take the time to vote this Saturday, and more than once, up to 40 times. Hockey is a big deal in Eagle River, and winning this Kraft Heinz contest would be a huge boost to Eagle River hockey and the “Save The Dome” capital campaign.

Meanwhile, the city of Eagle River and towns of Lincoln and Washington are considering a proposal to increase the room tax from 4.5% to 8% for three years, with the additional funds going to the Dome project. 

The Eagle River Area Room Tax Commission recently approved the idea on a 3-1 vote, saying it could raise up to $200,000 annually for improvements to the cooling system.

The ERRA fits the purpose of a room tax very well, for it’s winter-time youth hockey tournaments fill hundreds of rooms that might otherwise remain empty. We would suggest five years for the tax as opposed to three years to ensure the organization has adequate funding for the cooling plant and other rink upgrades.

Together, the Kraft Heinz promotion and the room tax could raise in excess of $750,000 for the capital campaign, and ensuring more than half the money is raised will help the ERRA get a loan for the remainder.

Behind the editorial ‘we’

       Members of the Vilas County News-Review editorial board include Publisher Kurt Krueger, Editor Gary Ridderbusch and Assistant Editor Michelle Drew.