Poll

City holds its breath for Kraft Hockeyville annnouncement

Kyra Hoggan
By Kyra Hoggan
March 6th, 2014

The big day’s almost here – this Saturday, we’ll be finding out if Castlegar is a semi-finalist in the Kraft Hockeyville competition, and in the running for $100,000 of arena upgrades and the opportunity to host an NHL exhibition game.

This means lobbying support from far outside city boundaries, as the winning community could need as many as 2.5 million votes to win – which is why lobbying has already begun to get support under way.

City councillor Sure Heaton-Sherstobitoff said they’ll announce 16 semi-finalists during Hockey Night in Canada (eight from the east and eight from the west), and if Castlegar’s name gets called, we’ll have just 48 hours to generate enough votes to move to the finals.

“If you hear Castlegar announced, please log on or pick up the phone and start voting,” she said, adding you can vote as many times as you like – and the more, the better.

If we win on Saturday, this means $25,000 in upgrades for the arena – making it to the finals means $50,000, and there will be two winners who get the $100,000 (again, one from the east and one from the west), only one of whom will get to host the NHL game.

“We hope everyone in the West Kootenay will log on if Castlegar is announced,” she said. “It will benefit the whole region.”

She said this stage (the winners announced on Saturday night) was up to the judges, but the next levels will be all about votes.

To that end, they’re setting up polling stations (one at the Complex and one at Time Horton’s) and they need volunteers with laptops to man the stations and help people cast their ballot (call Heaton-Sherstobitoff at 250-365-0801, email her at sherheat@telus.net or message her on Facebook if you can pitch in).

“I read every nomination story (that was posted for Castlegar), and there’s some pretty touching stuff there. With all the community spirit we showed, I think we have a really good shot,” she said, adding Castlegar boasted 461 nomination and 591 uploads by the close of nominations. “It’s been a real community-raising adventure, and lots of the events we held will now be annual – so no matter what happens, whether our name is called or not, we’ve already won.”

That’s not to say we’re not in it to win it – the Castlegar is Kraft Hockeyville 2014 Facebook page already has 1,256 followers, and other communities are already pledging their support, like Saslmon Arm Economic Development, who posted, “Hi Castlegar! Salmon Arm wishes you the best of luck on Saturday Night! Let’s bring Kraft Hockeyville back to BC!”

(You can find this page at https://www.facebook.com/www.castlegarishockeyville?ref=ts&fref=ts )

Meanwhile, family connection isn’t the only thing drawing Sylvan Lake and Castlegar together (our councillor Kevin Chernoff is father of Sylvan Lake city councillor Megan Chernoff) … our other tie is a mutual pledge to support each other in our mutual bids to become Kraft Hockeyville.

“Who says just because you are in a competition against other towns for #Kraft Hockeyville that you can’t support one another?” wrote Kevin Chernoff. “Sylvan Lake, Alberta and Castlegar B.C. have pledged their support to whatever municipality goes further in this completion. If Sylvan Lake advances, Castlegar will send votes in favour of Sylvan Lake and, if Castlegar wins, Sylvan Lake will encourage their residents to vote for Castlegar. The Kraft Hockeyville Challenge is less about who wins and more about communities coming together. So let’s show everyone what community spirit is all about and make the commitment to help our neighbours!”

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