Local man submits ‘Hockeyville’ bid

Lucas Punkari

Fort Frances native Jonathan Glueheisen took matters into his own hands when he saw that no one else was taking the initiative to submit a bid in this year’s Kraft “Hockeyville” contest.
Glueheisen, who works at Fort Frances General Supply, put a bid onto the “Hockeyville” website ahead of last night’s midnight deadline for those communities looking to host a NHL pre-season game and earn $100,000 in arena upgrades.
“I ended up submitting a bid after seeing the commercials on TV and being interested in it, and also seeing the editorial that was written in the Fort Frances Times a couple of weeks ago,” he explained.
“I do a lot of the awards for the kids at work and with hockey being such an integral part of the community, I thought this was something worth pursuing.
“It bothered me a bit that no one had taken the initiative to submit a bid,” Glueheisen admitted.
“I think this is a contest that we should definitely be interested in, along with every city in Ontario and Canada.”
Having grown up in Fort Frances, Glueheisen has seen firsthand the support given to teams in the area over the years—a fact that was driven home more when he was away from the town.
“I lived in Michigan for a few years, and there hockey is more on the back-burner when compared to other sports like football,” he explained.
“Here, though, we have such a booming hockey feel, and I can remember being in public school and high school when I was younger and going to the [52’ Canadians] arena to go see the Muskies play.
“Simply put, hockey is Canada and it’s like that here,” he stressed.
While the opportunity to host an NHL pre-season game is a unique one, Glueheisen feels the $100,000 presented to the winning community, or the $25,000 awarded to the four runners-up, will be more beneficial in the long run.
“I remember being in the old [’52 Canadians] rink when I was younger and it looking like it was brand new,” he noted.
“But when I recently went in there with my girlfriend, we were astonished at the seating now as a result of years and years of use.
“Everyone in the town enjoys using the arena, whether it be for hockey, skating, or whatever else, so why not try to go for something that can help it out?” he reasoned.
Glueheisen now will have to wait and see if Fort Frances will be one of the three Ontario communities that will be among the 15 finalists from across the country, which will be announced on Saturday, March 3 during Hockey Night In Canada on CBC.
But even if his bid isn’t successful, Glueheisen already is planning to try again next year.
“As soon as they announce it, I’ll be putting in another bid, along with hopefully dragging a few other people along to see what we can do,” he remarked.
“If you look at a town like Nestor Falls, and see what they were able to do a couple of years ago in the ‘Ultimate Fishing Town’ competition, I don’t think there’s any reason whatsoever why we couldn’t be able to do the same thing here in Fort Frances.”