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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

OK, Lockport, I have started something and now you need to help me out here. If you go to, you will see the option to choose a state and then type in a city. If you choose NY and type in Lockport, the Cornerstone CFCU Arena pops up. You click on “Select” and then click on “Nominate This Rink.” Then you take three minutes out of your day to explain why hockey is something you enjoy and how excited you are to have the Cornerstone CFCU Arena in your community.

Why should you do this? Because it does two things that could bring an NHL game to Lockport. The first thing it does is it tells the story of hockey in Lockport circa 2015 from more than just my perspective. The more people who tell compelling stories about hockey in Lockport and the impact the Cornerstone CFCU Arena is having on the community, the better our chances of winning.

The other reason is that this can be a numbers game (although the final determination is not strictly done by number of votes). From what I saw, there are a couple of arenas that have nominations in the hundreds. We can top that, Lockport. We can show the entire world that we are Hockeyville and that Lockport is on the rise.

What do we get? Well, I am sure that Kraft will dump a ton of money into promoting our city as they name us Hockeyville 2015. We also get the chance to host an NHL preseason game and we get $150,000 towards improvements on our brand new rink. The rink is beautiful, but $150,000 could make it downright gorgeous. I already checked and there is no seating requirement to be able to host the NHL game and nothing says that a brand new arena cannot win. It only says that the rink requirements must be in line with the NHL and NHLPA. We have a regulation size ice surface, so game on!

Allow me to address all of the negative-Nancys out there who, for some reason, find fault with the arena. First of all, I notice that many people who speak out against the arena do so for political reasons as I hear political parties mentioned regularly in tirades against the arena. This is why I hate politics. You people are so blinded by your devotion to some political party that could care less about you that you hate the idea of something that could bring your community back to prominence.

The city of Lockport did not spend one thin dime on that arena. The city does not spend one thin dime running the arena. That arena was funded by generous organizations and made possible by the hard work of Lockport leaders like John Ottaviano. The arena has already brought in thousands of people from all over the country and people all over the Northeast are buzzing about Lockport and its beautiful arena.

So to the negative people I say – shut up. If you insist on spewing your drool here in response to this article, know that no one else shares your negative and self-serving thoughts. After only three months in business, everyone in Lockport can see the tremendous upside of this arena. So just shut up.

Now, back to turning Lockport into Hockeyville.

You must either be 18 years old or have the permission of a parent or guardian if you are under 18 years old. You can write up to 2,500 characters when you explain why you love Lockport and the Cornerstone CFCU Arena. I think you can read what I wrote when you go to the site, but you cannot cut and paste it. You MUST write something original or it will not count.

I am calling on community leaders like John Ottaviano, Mayor Anne McCaffrey, Heather Grimmer, Scott Leffler, David Nemi, Tony Nemi and anyone who says that the Cornerstone CFCU Arena is wonderful to put their money where their mouths are and nominate our arena and our city to be Hockeyville.

I call on every person in the Lockport Express organization, the Clarence Mustangs, the Lockport Lions varsity and junior varsity teams, the Lockport Common Council, the police force, the firemen and everyone who wants to see Lockport succeed to take 10 minutes out of your life (you only have to nominate the arena once – although further voting may be required in later rounds) and tell the entire world what you think of your hometown and your hometown arena.

Can we win? Absolutely! If we all take a vested interest in this little contest, then we can win. We can have one of the nicest arenas in the entire area and we can forever be known as Hockeyville. Why would you not want that? How could you not be interested in taking 10 minutes out of your life to possibly elevate the status of your city even higher in the eyes of the entire world?

Voting is going on right now and the first round of voting ends March 18. Then it gets narrowed down to the top ten, then the top five and then the final two. The whole thing closes on or around May 2, 2015.

Every single person who has a computer in the city of Lockport, and our friends who have recently visited us and have seen our city and our arena, can vote and at least bring more attention to what is going on here in Lockport.

Our attendance for both of the tournaments that have taken place in the arena so far has shocked all of the participating players, coaches and parents. Now we get to take that hockey energy and put it towards something that could be fun and extremely productive.

Go to right now and nominate your Cornerstone CFCU Arena. We cannot win if we do not try and we have been showing a lot of resiliency lately.

Vote right now.

George N Root III is a Lockport resident who would love to live in Hockeyville. His column appears each week and is bothersome to most.

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