2 Minnesota ice rinks are up for a $150K award

Vote for your favorite by April 13!
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Two Minnesota ice rinks is in the running to get $150,000 for improvements – and host a 2017-18 preseason NHL game.

The Bloomington Ice Garden (BIG), which opened in 1970, and Riverside Arena in Austin are among the 10 arenas in the Kraft Hockeyville USA 2017 contest, and people can help get the Minnesota rinks nominated by voting for their favorite between now and April 13 online here.

“We are very excited to see two more Minnesota communities named Kraft Hockeyville finalists,” Minnesota Hockey President Dave Margenau said in a statement. “Both Austin and Bloomington are great examples of local hockey associations working closely with their communities to provide a safe and fun place for boys and girls of all ages to play hockey. Both of these communities and arenas are very deserving of this honor, and I hope the entire State of Hockey works to get Austin and Bloomington into the next round!”

There will be more rounds of voting in the coming days. Between April 18-19, people can vote for the top four rinks to get the prize, and then from April 24-25, voting will take place for the top two. The winners will be announced about April 29.

The winner will get the $150,000 prize and will host a preseason game, while the runner-up will get $75,000 in rink upgrades. There will be two first prize winners who that get $25,000 in upgrades each, and the six second prize winners will get $10,000 in upgrades a piece.

BIG has three ice rinks, the city's website says, and some of the things it'll use the grant money on is updating the locker rooms, viewing areas, the entryway and food area, KARE 11 reports.

BIG has a long history

The Bloomington Ice Garden has a storied past. You know the Miracle on Ice team? Yeah, they practiced at BIG under Herb Brooks leading up to the 1980 Olympics.

And locally, the teams who've played there – Kennedy, Jefferson and Bloomington girls hockey – have brought home seven state championships, and the players on those teams have gone on to play in college and in the pros, an email news release says.

The arena isn't just for hockey, either. It's also home to a figure skating program, which competes at the national level.

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