MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) Lakeview Arena has a new title as of Saturday, it’s winner of the Kraft Hockeyville USA competition. The community came together yet again Saturday for the live reveal party where thousands showed up to support Lakeview's run and victory.
The confetti came down and the crowd went wild after learning the 2016 winner of Kraft Hockeyville USA's competition was none other than Marquette's Lakeview Arena.
"To see this building get packed like this for this event really shows the pride that we have and just the overall mission of what Kraft Hockeyville was trying to do,” said Andrew MacIver, parks and recreation coordinator for the City of Marquette. “Really rally us together try to grow the game and get on board with this."
To say the community got on board would be an understatement. It started with voting and continued today as they donated time and resources for the party.
"This is truly a great event I mean take a look at the people that are here,” explained Dave Campana, mayor of Marquette. “This is the first event of this kind probably ever here and it's a lot of fun, a good way to spend a Saturday afternoon."
Thousands showed up from kids, to law enforcement, entire hockey teams and everyone in between. Those in attendance could make signs for their beloved arena, play floor hockey, use bounce houses and even watch the live feed from NBC Sports-making the event a day to remember.
"We went on the bouncy house and then we got a clapper and we just watched a little bit of TV and all that," said Nico Lukkarinen and Jacob Jestila at the party Saturday.
"It's pretty great to see the community come together from all walks of life and all areas of the UP,” explained Kelsey Weyland, a sophomore on the NMU women’s hockey team. “It's pretty great to see everyone come together for a cause like this."
"It's huge for everybody especially our team because we're based out of Northern in Marquette so it's huge for us to get the community out here," added Jesse Junttila and James Vermeulen, freshman on NMU’s hockey team.
Also at the live reveal party was the essay writer that brought Lakeview into the competition. He said it was easy to write and came from the heart.
"It was from all the years that I’ve watched my boys and other kids play hockey here and I've got girls who figure skate in this rink, the rink needs help,” said Frederick Hoenke. “When I saw the contest was going on, I just had a few minutes and I just wrote the essay."
Because of his work and the tremendous voting efforts of the community, Lakeview will win $150,000 in arena upgrades and get to host an NHL pre-season game. After this victory, people may think twice about doubting the U.P's love of hockey and their community.
"We didn't really see ourselves getting this far, but we believed that we could get this far and here we are today," said Andrew MacIver.
Coming in second was Rushmore Thunderdome out of Rapid City South Dakota. They will get $75,000 in arena upgrades. And as for the NHL pre-season game here; Marquette will host Buffalo and Carolina on October 4th.
The Lakeview Arena was named the Kraft Hockeyville USA winner!
After spending the month of April competing with ten other arenas, the Lakeview was announced as the winner during the first intermission of the New York Islanders - Tampa Bay Lightning contest.
Voting for round one began on April 12th and the Lakeview was one of the arenas to advance to the final four.
After the second voting session the Lakeview was matched up with the Rushmore Thunderdome in Rapid City, South Dakota.
The Lakeview Arena beat out the Thunderdome to be named Hockeyville USA.
For winning the tournament the Lakeview Arena will receive $150,000 and will host a NHL Preseason game.