Lethbridge nominated for Hockeyville 2021
LETHBRIDGE -- The game of hockey has changed dramatically over the past 100 years, but for 98-year-old Bill Craik, his passion for the sport hasn't faded in the slightest.
"Ever since I was a kid I used to listen to Foster Hewitt on Hockey Night in Canada," said Craik.
He was raised just outside of Lethbridge and has seen the community grow over the years.
One thing that has never changed is the community's love for Canada's game.
"For years, Lethbridge has really been hockey-centric so it would be great to see this arena get built up a bit. It would be great for the youth of Lethbridge."
Craik enlisted in the Canadian infantry in 1942 and fought in the Second World War in Italy.
He was also part of the roughly 150,000 Canadian soldiers who helped liberate the Dutch from Nazi control.
Through all of that, his love for hockey has trucked on to this very day.
Unfortunately he's unable to travel long distances to see his beloved Maple Leafs take the ice in person.
In an effort to bring the game to him, his daughter Nancy Mitchell decided to nominate Lethbridge for this year's Kraft Hockeyville Challenge.
The winning city or town gets to host an NHL preseason game. It also receives $250,000 in arena upgrades.
"I just thought of how my dad raised me to love hockey and we watched the Leafs together and I thought, how thrilling this would be for him," said Mitchell.
"To bring a game into his community I just thought would be awesome and who wouldn't want $250,000 to spruce up their arena?"
The rink that's up for nomination is the Logan Boulet Arena, formerly known as the Adams Ice Centre.
The facility is roughly 60 years old and could use a few changes.
"We need new boards and glass for sure. The board here are probably 40 to 50 years old and they're too high, and the glass is too short," said arena operator Kyle Sargeant.
The top four finalists for this year's Hockeyville Challenge will be posted on Saturday, March 20.