Is the 48 hour keyboard marathon going to get BLOMHA a $100,000 award for minor hocey? You can help make that happen.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. March 24, 2013  While they can’t see the finish line –they all know where it is – hundreds of people who are involved with minor hockey or know someone who is involved,  got dragooned into going on-line and clicking away at a red button with the word VOTE on it.

Have you voted yet?  If is before 11:59 pm on Sunday the 24th of March – you can still vote.  Vote NOW!

They were out to win the $100,000 that Kraft Foods had put up for their Hockey Goes On contest.  Kraft asked for nominations and got thousands of them from across the country.  They narrowed those thousands down to twenty from five regions they created.  Ontario was one of the regions and Burlington was one of twenty communities in the region.  John McNeil was the hockey person nominated from Burlington by Kristen Priestner, a parent who had a son playing for the BLOMHA Bulldogs in the atom division.

BLOMHA, Burlington Lions Optimist Minor Hockey Association, focuses on developing skills in the game of hockey and building character.

McNeil and Priestner pulled together the people they needed, first by reaching out to the other sports organizations and asking them to support the effort. Then friends, family, associates – even passersby were asked to support the effort.

That was the kernel of an operation that just grew.

If you were at the McNeil household Saturday night you took your turn clicking away at the keyboard and registering votes for the Hockey Goes On $100,000 award that was up for grabs.

There is no way for anyone other than the people at Kraft Foods to know who is leading.  Each community just has to do its best to get its people out voting.  This is a bit of an oddity in that anyone from anywhere can vote and they can vote as often as they want.  If someone has the fortitude to stay at the keyboard for 10 hours – there is nothing to stop them.  The community that sticks to it and organizes the most people with the most dedication gets the $100,000 that gets used for the development of hockey.

The force behind the Hockey Goes On was a need to recognize the people, those volunteers who make hockey happen at the minor league level.  Some of those players might make it to the professional league level but that’s not a BLOHMA objective.  Rick Dawson who serves as the president of BLOMHA is there to help kids play the game and take their talent as far as it can be taken and to build character and community values in the process.

The organization has thousands of kids playing the game, hundreds of coaches and many other support people who are part of what hockey at the community level is all about.

Katherine Hartman on the left (Barracudas player helping out her cousin and BLOMHA), Tiegan Priestner, (birthday girl helping her brother) and the youngest Daniel, with the official BULLDOGS mascot.

Kristen Priestner knew exactly who she wanted to nominate from Burlington when she heard of the contest.  Sheila Ramage knew that her weekend was shot when McNeil got nominated.  Sheila is one of the team that runs the operations side of the BLOHMA office and handled a lot of the phoning around and keeping people in touch during that 48 hour marathon.

Our Burlington asked Kraft foods if they could tell us anything about how the event was going.  We got this back from their offices:

“We are pleased to report that we have had an outstanding response to the Kraft Hockey Goes On voting period. As you may know, Kraft Hockey Goes On helps Canadians share their passion for the game by recognizing important local contributors who make hockey happen in communities across Canada. Through the program, we began accepting nominations on January 21st and received over 1000 inspiring stories about the dedicated Canadians who invest their time and energy into local hockey every day. Nominations closed on March 8 and on March 16, we announced the top 100 nominees, as narrowed down by a panel of judges.

“Canadians are now voting for their favourite local hockey supporters at and working hard to rally votes on We did experience a short period of down time on the site as the voting period began yesterday at 9a.m., but resolved it as quickly as possible and we are excited to see the votes continuing to roll in. The voting period continues until 11:59pm EST this evening, so we encourage Canadians to keep on voting!

Flyers were needed – quickly. friends got called in, printing presses inked up and paper-cutter turned on. Colour Works Printing pulled in all the child labour!they could find.  was it enough?


“The top five nominees who receive the most votes will be recognized for their contributions and $100,000 will be awarded to their selected Hockey Canada-affiliated minor hockey association. The subsequent top 20 nominees with the most votes will be recognized with a $20,000 donation to their selected minor hockey association.

A point of clarification: Each Region, and Ontario is one of the five regions, will have one – $100,000 award  and four $20,000 awards.

Every hand, or in this case, keyboard counted.  Two Bulldogs on the way to a tournament in London on Saturday clicked while on the 401.

“We look forward to seeing the impact that these funds will have on local Canadian hockey communities and are proud to recognize the individuals who do so much to make this nation’s sport go on every day. Canadians can tune-in to the winner announcement taking place during the Montreal Canadiens vs. Philadelphia Flyers NHL match-up on TSN on Wednesday April 3, 2013.”

Burlington is up against:   Stittsville, Goderich, Atikokan, Barrie, Renfrew, Verona, Sarnia, Weston, Langton, Moose Factory, Kitchener, Prescott, Napanee, Pelham, Amherstview, Lakefield, Cornwall, Brampton and Fergus.

There are still a couple of hours to vote.

At press time Kristen Priestner reported: “We had Moms voting in the lobby right up to game time tonight at Appleby, one Mom (Shannon Scullion) even voted throughout the entire game because she felt guilty about taking the time off to go for a run this afternoon!  We had siblings putting flyers around the parking lot and voting throughout the game as well.”

” Back to it, crunch time now!  May have to have a team party on results night!”

There will be a nail biter of a party at the McNeil household the night the award winner is announced.  Should be a great hockey game as well – Canadiens and the Flyers – not much better than that.



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