Rostraver Ice Garden wins Kraft Hockeyville contest

The Rostraver Ice Garden in Belle Vernon has been named Hockeyville USA for 2017.

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As winner of the Kraft Hockeyville USA 2017 grand prize, the ice garden will get $150,000 in arena upgrades. It will also host a National Hockey League preseason game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues on Sept. 24.

The game will mark a homecoming of sorts for the Penguins, who held training camp at Rostraver in the 1970s, Penguins manager of communications Jason Seidling said in a news release.

“We salute the Rostraver Ice Garden and its many supporters for this tremendous achievement – and for what it says about the impact of hockey in Western Pennsylvania,” said David Morehouse, president and CEO of the Penguins. “This really is hockey country. The passion of our fans our vibrant youth hockey community has been rewarded once again.”

Rostraver outpaced nine other rinks across the country in online voting during the Kraft Hockeyville competition. The finals this week pitted Rostraver against the Bloomington Ice Garden in Bloomington, Minnesota,, the former practice site of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Team.

This is the second time in three years that the Kraft Hockeyville USA competition has been won by a town and rink in Western Pennsylvania. Johnstown was the inaugural winner in 2015.

Rostraver Ice Garden is home to the Mon Valley Thunder youth hockey program, local high school hockey and the California University of Pennsylvania men’s and women’s ACHA teams.  The facility survived a roof collapse in 2010 and has been hailed as the “most resilient rink in the country," Seidling said.