Atikokan man finalist in Kraft hockey contest
Although it originally was kept a secret from him, Atikokan native and long-time hockey volunteer Brad Sampson was extremely excited once he found out he was among the 100 finalists in the first-ever Kraft “Hockey Goes On” competition.
“They were hiding it from me once they submitted a nomination for me, but I started to find out about it a couple of weeks ago when I made the top 100 finalists,” Sampson explained.
“I’m just hoping that we can get the vote out so that happens.”
Sampson is a jack-of-all trades when it comes to Atikokan minor hockey, serving as the president, referee-in-chief, and equipment manager there since 2008.
In addition to that, he has coached minor hockey since 1998, including being behind the bench this season for the Atikokan Voyageurs Bantam boys’ team and the ACO Chargers girls’ Midget squad here in Fort Frances.
“I’ve also been doing the secretary’s job for minor hockey here since we don’t have anyone for that, so I’ve been very busy,” Sampson conceded.
“I’m pretty fortunate with my job [site manager at Atikokan Renewable Fuels] that I have the extra time to do all of this, but I really do this for the kids,” he added.
“I would much rather them play hockey, and have them out on the ice doing something instead of just standing around in the stands and doing nothing.”
The Kraft “Hockey Goes On” competition, which replaced the Kraft “Hockeyville” one this year as a result of the NHL lockout, was designed to showcase the work put by people involved in hockey across the country.
Following a two-day voting process, which gets underway online on Saturday at 8 p.m. (CDT) and wraps up Sunday at midnight, the top five grand prize winners will be announced Wednesday, April 3.
Those individuals will win $100,000 each that will go towards their local minor hockey association.
Another 20 second-prize winners will win $20,000 towards their local branch.
“If we were lucky enough to win, we would use the money to keep the registration costs down here,” Sampson explained.
“As I’m sure most people are aware, hockey is a very expensive sport and we buy a lot of the equipment for the kids here as it’s sometimes hard for the parents to afford those things,” he noted.
“The money would also go toward jerseys, as we buy those for the kids, and it also goes towards helping to put on tournaments and things like that.”
To vote for Sampson, visit www.krafthockeygoeson.ca and click on the Ontario link on the front page of the website.
Once there, you can find a profile on Sampson you can visit—and where you can submit your vote for him.