Roberval, Que., wins Kraft Hockeyville 2008
Village sur Glace de Roberval, Que., has earned the prestigious title of Kraft Hockeyville 2008.
The winner was announced Tuesday evening by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman during CBC's Hockey Night in Canada playoff preview.
"We're thrilled to have the opportunity to once again showcase our great players and exciting NHL experience in one of Canada's most passionate hockey communities," Bettman said in a statement.
Roberval receives $100,000 from Kraft to upgrade a local arena, where the Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres will face off in a pre-season contest on Sept 23 — with Don Cherry on hand.
"Roberval did a fantastic job," Kraft Canada president Dion Bianco said in a statement.
"We worked all together for the last three months," said Jeannot Gagnon, director of the Roberval bid. "We're very, very proud of this."
The Canadiens-Sabres clash will be showcased in CBC's one-hour Hockeyville special on Sept. 27.
"It provides the Canadiens with an excellent opportunity to expand our centennial celebrations further," Canadiens president Pierre Boivin said. "We look forward to playing in Roberval."
"The Sabres and Canadiens have a rich history competing against one-another on the ice and this game will add to the tradition," Sabres managing partner Larry Quinn said.
The other finalists were Pilot Mound, Man., Kingsville, Ont., Port aux Basques, N.L., and Wilcox, Sask.
Each of the four communities, which lobbied to convey their exceptional spirit, originality and passion for hockey, receives $20,000 from Kraft in arena upgrades.
The final voting by the Canadian public was as follows: Roberval (2,198,665); Kingsville (1,491,787); Port aux Basques (959,312); Pilot Mound (558,322) and Wilcox (334,630).
"We want to thank all the people who voted for us — all over the province and all over Canada," Gagnon said.
Salmon River, N.S., and North Bay, Ont., were the previous Hockeyville winners.