Calumet Colosseum wins Kraft Hockeyville USA 2019
The NHL calls the Calumet Colosseum, built in 1913, “the oldest in-use indoor ice arena in the world.”
“We’ve got a pretty cool barn,” said Calumet Hockey Association President Mike Jukuri. “I’m sure the NHL players wouldn’t mind playing in the oldest ice rink in the world.”
Jukuri was referring to the Calumet Colosseum and the NHL exhibition game that likely will take place there next fall. That is part of the prize for the Upper Michigan community – population 726 – for being named Kraft Hockeyville USA 2019.
The arena will also be awarded $150,000 in rink upgrades and receive $10,000 worth of new equipment from the NHL Players Association Goals & Dreams fund.
“The reaction from the entire community has been great,” Jukuri said. “They’re all excited.”
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced Calumet as the winner on Sunday afternoon during the second intermission of NBC’s telecast of the game between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers.
Magen Hanrahan, vice president of media and marketing services at Kraft Heinz, said in a statement: "Community support is pivotal in this competition, and Calumet Colosseum showed the passion and determination of a true champion. Calumet Colosseum is an inspiration to local hockey communities across America, and we're excited to celebrate with them later this year."
Jukuri said he had not received the available dates from the NHL for the exhibition game, but that everything possible would be done to make the contest a reality.
The Calumet Coloseum was built in 1913, hence its billing as “the oldest operating rink in the world.” To put a finer point on it, the NHL calls it “the oldest in-use indoor ice arena in the world.”
The Galt Arena Gardens in Galt, Ontario (now a part of the city of Cambridge, Ontario) – which opened in 1922 – bills itself as the “oldest continuously operating arena in the world.”
Jukuri said that Calumet Colosseum has just had new boards and new glass installed and that he would have to “get together with the (Calumet) Township” on what the $150,000 would be used to upgrade.
Cadillac’s Wexford County Civic Center was also one of four finalists for Kraft Hockeyville USA 2019.
The runner-up, Eagle River Sports Arena in Eagle River, Wisconsin, will receive $30,000 to use toward rink upgrades, while “The Wex” in Cadillac and Bernicks Pepsi Arena in Sartell, Minnesota, will each receive $10,000 toward rink upgrades from Kraft Heinz.
Each rink also will be awarded $10,000 worth of new hockey equipment on behalf of the NHLPA Goals & Dreams fund.
Voting among the four finalists was done on the internet from Friday to Sunday morning.
Calumet is the second Upper Peninsula community to win the honor in five years. Marquette's Lakeview Arena was the winner in 2016.