April 11, 2017 08:12 AM
(ABC 6 News) -- The Austin community is celebrating the Riverside Arena being named a finalist for the "Kraft Hockeyville USA 2017." Austin qualified as a finalist among nearly 1,300 nominations across the United States.
Kraft-Heinz is searching for America’s most passionate hockey community. Austin is competing alongside communities like Rochester, NY and Falmouth, Mass.
"Whenever your community is listed in these types of competitions and you are going against everyone in the nation, it kind of gives you goosebumps," said Kim Underwood with Austin Parks and Recreation.
If Riverside Arena wins, the grand prize comes with the opportunity to host an NHL pre-season game, which would be broadcast live.
Michael Keeley, Director of Media Relations for the Austin Bruins, said it is a competition that should be unforgettable.
“For the players that play here for the fans many of which have been coming to this building since it opened, it would be a memory that would last a life time. That they would look back and say hey the NHL came to our little town and I was a part of it” Keeley said.
The winner will also receive $150,000 in arena upgrades, which at Riverside could mean upgrading the scoreboards or moving them to the center of the arena so fans can see them better.
"I think it's just gonna enhance the overall experience and even make it a place more people want to come to," said Troy Holtz with the Austin Youth Hockey Association board. "I think that being nominated and being one of the finalists really makes us excited for those possibilities."
The first round of voting starts on Tuesday online, via twitter or text. The winner is expected to be announced by the end of the month.
Updated: April 11, 2017 08:12 AM
Created: April 10, 2017 07:34 PM
Copyright 2017 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company