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Kraft Hockey Goes On Names Canada's Top Five Hockey Supporters And Awards $100,000 Each For Local Minor Hockey

Additional 20 Canadians recognized from coast-to-coast, totaling $1 million to Hockey Canada-affiliated minor hockey organizations

TORONTO, April 3, 2013 /CNW/ - Nearly three million votes were cast as Canadians rallied their communities to support minor hockey and ultimately decide the top five local hockey supporters from across the country who help the game of hockey go on in communities from coast-to-coast.

Hockey Goes On in Canada because of so many people, like the individual whose dedication to kids' hockey meant that he coached throughout his year-long cancer treatment, the woman who has volunteered her early mornings at a local rink for over 35 years or the volunteer who created a program to support players with disabilities. These are just some of the inspiring stories shared through Kraft Hockey Goes On.

Today the following five individuals are recognized and their chosen minor hockey association will be awarded $100,000.

Pacific Region: Curt Thorne, Golden, B.C , Golden Minor Hockey Association An integral part of his hockey community, Curt Thorne is passionate about the game and does all he can to raise funds to support the Golden Minor Hockey Association and make hockey go on for everyone in the community. He possesses a unique love for the game, with a dedication that inspires others to do more and be more in the community.

Western Region: Grant Berger, Central Butte, SK, Central Butte Minor Hockey Association An outstanding member of the community, Grant Berger has dedicated countless hours to making hockey go on in Central Butte. For many years, he has made himself available to do all that he can, from opening the rink and keeping it open after hours for those who want to skate, to filling pop machines and picking up equipment and supplies.  Berger always ensures the job is done for his community players.

Ontario Region: Dirk Wolterbeek, Goderich, ON, Goderich Minor Hockey Association Dirk Wolterbeek has been coaching local hockey in Goderich since he was a newlywed in 1971. Together with his wife Mary, Wolterbeek has prepared meals for the Pee-Wee hockey players from across Canada for 30 years, providing over 35,000 meals to-date. Despite following a rigorous routine of dialysis as he battled kidney failure, Wolterbeek re-joined forces with his son to coach the Lions Club Goderich YCW tourney, the same tournament Wolterbeek won back in 1962.

Quebec Region: Ghislaine B. Paquet, Amqui, QC, Hockey Mineur Vallée Matapédia A leader in her hometown of Amqui, Quebec, Ghislaine B. Paquet got involved in local hockey as a way to share in her son's passion. She serves as president of the Vallée Matapédia Hockey Association, sits on three tournament committees and is responsible for facilitating weekly Bingo. A part of the Hockey Association for over 25 years, she has invested countless hours and boundless energy into helping the kids experience the beauty of the sport.

Atlantic Region: Jared Ryder, Bonavista, NL, Bonavista Trinity Minor Hockey Association As a way to honour the tragic passing of his best friend, Jared Ryder rallied his team to make the game go on and began coaching local hockey at the age of 18. In addition to devoting hours to team practices, planning and playing games, Ryder organizes the " Marv Ryder Memorial Game" annually to raise money to support kids and families who are unable to afford to play the game.

"We all know how passionate Canadians are about hockey. And that passion is taken to a whole other level when it comes to grassroots hockey.  It builds communities and brings them together thanks to the support and dedication of the individuals who drive the kids to the games, raise funds so that they can play, teach our kids how to handle a stick, skate and instill strong life values," said Jack Hewitt, vice-president of marketing insight & services, Kraft Canada. "While we could never match the contributions made by these inspiring individuals, we are proud to recognize those who are at the heart of this nation's sport to help make a difference in their communities."

Find the full list of the additional 20 Canadians recognized with a $20,000 award for their selected minor hockey associations at www.KraftHockeyGoesOn.ca

"We know that $100,000 will make an incredible impact on the winning hockey communities, helping them to assist many more future hockey stars through additional programming and facility upgrades," said Bob Nicholson, president and CEO, Hockey Canada. " Kraft Hockey Goes On put the spotlight on these individuals and gave them the credit and recognition they so rarely receive."

Through the program, Kraft Hockey Goes On is awarding a total of $1 million to Hockey Canada-affiliated minor hockey associations, with a $100,000 portion awarded to Hockey Canada Learn to Skate programs.

Beginning on January 21, Canadians were invited to share their passion for the game by recognizing local supporters who make hockey happen in communities across Canada and enter a nomination at www.krafthockeygoeson.ca. A panel of judges then selected the top 100 finalists, who moved on to a voting period on March 23 and 24.

The Kraft Hockey Goes On partners - Christie, TSN, RDS and Hockey Canada - would like to thank and congratulate all of the nominees that participated in the program.

For more information, please visit www.facebook.com/krafthockeygoeson.

ABOUT KRAFT FOODS GROUP Kraft Foods Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: KRFT) is North America's fourth largest consumer packaged food and beverage company, with revenues of approximately $18 billion in 2012.  Launched as a public and independent company on Oct. 1, 2012, the new Kraft has the spirit of a startup and the soul of a powerhouse.  The company has an unrivaled portfolio of products in the beverages, cheese, refrigerated meals and grocery categories. Its iconic brands include Kraft, Maxwell House, Oscar Mayer, Planters and JELL-O. Kraft's 25,000 employees in the U.S. and Canada have a passion for making the foods and beverages people love. Kraft Foods Group is a member of the Standard & Poor's 500 index. For more information, visit www.kraft.com and www.facebook.com/kraft.

SOURCE Kraft Canada

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