The Town of Bentley is still in the running to be named the Kraft Hockeyville 2011 community.
By a vote of 242,055 to 77,641, Bentley easily defeated Brandon, Man. to represent the west in the Top 5.
In doing so, the town northwest of Red Deer will receive $25,000 in arena upgrades from Kraft Canada.
Upwards of 100 people gathered at the Bentley School Saturday evening to watch the revealing of the five finalists.
Lane Moore, Bentley School principal, said loud cheers erupted when Buffalo Sabres’ Tyler Myers announced Bentley.
“It was quite amazing,” said Moore, a Bentley for Hockeyville 2011 committee member.
“There was just a whole bunch of emotions that hit us when they announced our name.”
After the laughter and tears, however, it was back to the phones and computers. Voters have until 10 p.m. on March 21 to cast the vote for the winning community.
The top prize is $100,000 in arena upgrades and the chance to host a NHL pre-season game.
Mayor Joan Dickau said the whole process has given the community one big cause to unite around.
“It’s phenomenal,” she said. “People still have their decorations up for when they filmed. The stores are still decorated. We’re still competing here.”
Pam Hansen, another Bentley for Hockeyville 2011 committee member, said the residents still have a lot of fight left in them. Moore agreed and estimated the gathered crowd cast 65,000 votes alone at the school in the hours following the revealing. The school will remain open after classes on Monday to allow for another vote-athon.
“The big thing is the voting for the next two days until (Monday night),” said Hansen, on Sunday morning. “And then it is basically in the numbers’ hands from there.”
Home to the Generals Senior AAA, and built in the 1960s, the Bentley Arena is one of the oldest rinks in central Alberta.
Filling out the Top 5 are Conception Bay South, NL; Mackenzie, B.C; Saint-Raymond, Que., and Wolfe Island, Ont. CBC Hockey Night In Canada will broadcast from the five communities on April 2 to announce the winning community.
To vote, visit www.krafthockeyville.ca or call 1-866-533-8066.