Kraft Hockeyville Goes To The USA & Climaxes In Sylvan Lake

The build up to the 2014/15 NHL season saw two major strands of Kraft’s legendary ‘Hockeyville’ sponsorship initiative: firstly the league sponsor announced it was extending the award-winning campaign across the border into the USA and secondly the culmination of last year’s activation exploded under a cloudless sky in the small community of Sylvan Lake, Alberta.


After months of anticipation, 2014 Kraft Hockeyville finally arrived at the competition-winning town of 15000 inhabitants.


The four days of celebratory activities ranged from food, drink and music, to giant games of Connect Four, a bouncy castle and even a lassoing exhibition.


But what they town really turned out for was to great the arrival of The Stanley Cup itself (and have their pictures taken with it), to attend the professionally run hockey clinics, meet former NHL stars and the players (and mascots) from the Calgary Flames and the Arizona Coyotes who faced off against one another in a pre-season match on the town’s own rink in the climax of Hockeyville.



Sylvan Lake found it had beaten 15 other Canadian communities to win his year’s Hockeyville – spearheaded by the pre-season warm-up game that took place in its 1000-seat Multiplex.


The source of its entry into the nationwide community based hockey initiative came nine months ago when the roof of the old 1972-built Sylvan Lake Arena collapsed.


Since then, its community spirit has seen it unite and rebuild – with the help of Kraft Hockeyville (and its $100,000 investment in hockey facilities improvements and upgrades).


Each year Kraft Hockeyville, the annual program that aims to find Canada’s most passionate hockey community, is launched as the season opens and offers a total of $1,000,000 in prizes to 16 hockey communities.



For the 2014/15 season this flagship sponsorship, which first began in 2006, is expanding south of the border with a campaign aimed at incentivising US communities to enter for a chance to win the $150,000 arena makeover, to host a televised NHL pre-season game and earn the title ‘Kraft Hockeyville 2015.


The US campaign is being promoted across TV, digital and in-store media through 15 Kraft brands (including A1, Bulls-Eye BBQ Sauce, Cracker Barrel, Jell-O, Kraft Mac & Cheese, Kraft Mayo, Kraft Natural Cheese, Kraft Salad Dressings, Kraft Singles, Maxwell House, Miracle Whip, Oscar Mayer, Philadelphia, Planters, Stove Top and Velveeta).


Kraft brands will also get sponsorship exclusivity in more than 12 different food and drink sub-categories – such as cheese, roast and ground coffee, cold cuts and desserts.


The fresh US deal sees Kraft become an official North American sponsor of both the NHL and the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) and an official partner of the NHL’s Winter Classic, Stadium Series, All-Star Game, Heritage Classic, Face-Off and Stanley Cup Playoffs.


‘Kraft has been an instrumental partner in our efforts to grow the game,’ said NHL COO John Collins.


‘We’re thrilled to continue our 30-year relationship in Canada and expand our partnership with Kraft to the United States where together, through Kraft Hockeyville, we can celebrate the passion American communities have for our sport at all levels and reward their passion with an unforgettable experience as we bring an NHL preseason game to the winning community next fall.’


‘We are thrilled to bring Kraft Hockeyville to the States and leverage the scale of our portfolio to help  support hockey at the local level,’ said EVP of Kraft Beverages Dino Bianco.


‘As a lifelong hockey player myself, I know that the bonds families form through local sports make our communities stronger. That is why Kraft Hockeyville is not just an investment in local hockey rinks but in building better communities.’


‘The players are pleased to see Kraft Hockeyville expand to the U.S. after the success of the program in Canada over the past eight years,’ said Don Fehr, NHLPA Executive Director.


‘Kraft Hockeyville 2015 will provide a great opportunity for NHL players to connect with the fans and give the winning U.S. community a chance to see their favorite players up close in their own rink.’


Kraft Hockeyville US nominations can be made from 1 January during the annual Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.


There will be a way to go before the US strand of the programme catches up with its Canadian sister initiative which has donated $1.6m in funding for arena impprvements in more than 40 Canadian communities since Kraft Hockeyville launched eight years ago.


Kraft also recently announced a media partnership with new Canadian NHL media partner Roger via its Sportsnet arm.




We love this grass-roots program  – one genuinely committed to growing the amateur community-based game


After all, local hockey arenas (like most sports facilities) are not just for sport, but act as community gathering places, centres of kids education where people learn about teamwork, values and friendship as well as stick and skating skills.


It offers both practical, functional support for long lasting facilities that create a legacy, as well as a unique experience that connects the biggest NHL stars to the smallest communities and the furthest-flung fans.



That is what great sponsorship is all about!


Furthermore Kraft’s grass roots commitment is authentic – just consider how it pulled its invetsment from the NHL and switched it to amatuer hockey during the 2012/13 strike (see case study).




Kraft Hockeyville Website



Kraft Hockeyville Facebook



Kraft Hockeyville Twitter



NHL Website



National Hockey League Players Association



Featured Showcases