Congratulations to the Pepsi Ice Center! They have been selected as one of the Top 10 Finalists for the Kraft Hockeyville USA competition! First round voting begins on Tuesday, April 11 and continues through midnight on Thursday, April 13th. Vote often to help advance the Pepsi Ice Center into the Top 4!
The Grand Prize winner of Kraft Hockeyville USA will win $150,000 in arena upgrades and will have the chance to host a 2017-2018 NHL Pre-Season Game in their hometown! One Runner-up will receive $75,000, two 1st place winners will receive $25,000 and six 2nd place recipients will receive $10,000!
Original Nomination by Christine K
Our hockey family at the Pepsi Ice Center is remarkable and deserves to be the Kraft Hockeyville USA 2017 winner. Everyone in our family is a hockey lover. My husband plays hockey 4 mornings a week, and our son (now 6) has been skating since he was 2. He started in the hockey tots program at age 3 and now plays as a Mite, loving every minute he is on the ice. Every year we are amazed at his progress as a skater and player. We also have two daughters, ages 4 and 2. Our 4 year old, Violet, suffers from gross motor delay and a host of other problems like frail bones and short stature. She cannot walk long distances without the aid of a walker. This has been especially heartbreaking for our active and hockey-loving family. Our doctors advised Violet cannot learn to skate the traditional way – standing up on ice skates – because her risk for fractures is too great. No one took this news harder than Violet herself, who longed to share the hockey experience with her dad and brother. Fortunately, we live in a very special hockey community. Our awesome Coach Stacia asked if we had ever considered letting Violet try sled hockey. Up to this point, we did not know much about sled hockey. However, we were eager to give Violet the opportunity to experience skating. My husband immediately set to work learning everything he could about sled hockey. We couldn’t wait to order a sled for Violet. There was only one problem, a sled is extremely expensive. We needn’t have worried, for our generous hockey family contributed, and in no time at all we had enough money for a sled for Violet. Her first time skating in her sled brought tears to my eyes. She has never shined more than when she is out on the ice with her dad and brother. Our story doesn’t stop there, this year Violet was allowed to participate in Bloomington’s mini-mite program and skate with the CIGHA. We are very thankful she has the opportunity to experience being part of a team and to improve her hockey skills. My husband, inspired by the generosity of our hockey family, started the Central Illinois Sled Hockey Association to give other children with disabilities the opportunity to play hockey. Again, our hockey family generously donated to help get the organization up and running. Here in Bloomington, we believe every kid deserves a chance to play hockey. When I watch Violet practice and hear other kids and families cheer her on it makes my heart sing. Hockey is for EVERYONE!
Note from Michael Hernbrott, Pepsi Ice Center Manager
Thank you so much in advance for your support! We are honored and humbled to be the only ice arena from Illinois in the Top 10 this year, especially when we know there are so many rinks that are equally deserving. Bloomington, Illinois and the Pepsi Ice Center is the home of the one of the largest 8 and under programs in the entire state of Illinois and also has banners on the wall from several 50 and over USA Hockey National Championships! Hockey is for Everyone in Bloomington. Bloomington is where both the Central Illinois Girls Hockey Association and the Central Illinois Sled Hockey Association were formed. Bloomington is the home of the Pepsi Ice Center Youth Hockey Association (Tier III), the Bloomington Youth Hockey Association (Tier II), the McLean County Youth Hockey Association (High School), Illinois State University Hockey (ACHA D1 & D2), many of those ISU players grew up playing in programs and rinks throughout Illinois. The Bloomington Thunder (USHL) team also uses the Pepsi Ice Center as their practice rink. Bloomington Hockey is legendary! Bloomington is the home of Hockey Director Joe Olson, Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame member! If we’re lucky enough to win, one of the items we hope to upgrade our facility with is making our benches and locker rooms sled hockey accessible. Please consider voting beginning Tuesday. Let’s bring it home to Illinois!
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