Terrace, B.C., has earned the right to be called Kraft Hockeyville.
The community of about 12,000 in the northern coastal area of British Columbia was announced as this year's winner by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday night after drawing the most votes in online, text and telephone balloting.
More than 7,100 communities entered the contest but Terrace beat all of them, including the four other finalists — Harbour Grace, N.L., Woolwich Township, Ont., Thetford Mines, Que., and Humboldt, Sask. — to claim the grand prize of $100,000 in arena upgrades from Kraft.
Terrace will also host an NHL pre-season game between the Vancouver Canucks and the New York Islanders on Sept. 14. Game highlights will be televised during a one-hour Kraft Hockeyville broadcast showcasing the community on CBC Television.
"It is an honour to be selected to play in Terrace, the winner of Kraft Hockeyville 2009," Islanders general manager Garth Snow said in a statement. "The Terrace community embodies the passion that all hockey fans feel about NHL hockey."
Terrace has endured tough economic times over the past decade with the closing of two mills, but the community recently opened the Terrace Sportsplex after years of fundraising efforts.
"We're just so happy," said an emotional Carol Fielding, the chairperson for the Terrace bid. "This community has worked so hard for this."
After a visit earlier this winter, Hockey Night in Canada 's Cassie Campbell said Terrace would be a worthy winner of a contest that drew almost eight times the number of submissions of a year ago.
"I truly believe that win or lose, the people of the community of Terrace can honestly come out of this competition with the satisfaction that this project brought them closer together," Campbell wrote in her blog on CBCSports.ca. "People of different backgrounds all coming together for one common goal — each other."
Last year's winner was Roberval, Que., which hosted a pre-season contest between the Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres in its newly renovated arena in September.