Sylvan Lake pulling out all the stops in Hockeyville quest

Sylvan Lake has its game face on for Kraft Hockeyville 2014.

Sylvan Lake has its game face on for Kraft Hockeyville 2014.

At a combination pep rally and official kickoff for the quest to be chosen Kraft’s Hockeyville community this spring, enthusiastic boosters promised to pull out all the stops.

There’s no time to waste in rallying the local troops because online Hockeyville voting begins 10 p.m. on March 8 and runs for 48 hours. When the votes are counted, eight communities from the West and eight from the East will make it to the next round and a step closer to being crowned this year’s Hockeyville.

The honour comes with $100,000 in arena upgrades, a visit from the CBC and the chance to host an NHL pre-season game.

For Sylvan Lake, winning would be a big lift after a tough winter that saw the roof collapse on one of the town’s two arenas, leacving hockey players figure skaters and other users scrambling to find an alternate site.

“We’ve all got great memories of that rink,” said Mayor Sean McIntyre. “The reason we’re here is to make new memories at a new rink.”

Coun. Graham Parsons, who is heading the Hockeyville campaign, put out the call for more volunteers and said numerous events are already in the planning stages to keep the community front and centre.

With only a 48-hour voting window to cast as many votes as possible, “it gets pretty intense,” he said. Local supporters plan to gather at the local Royal Canadian Legion at 7 p.m. as a kickoff to the vote.

Local teams, companies and other groups were encouraged to get together for slumber parties fueled with pizza and armed with laptops and other devices to carry out voting blitzes.

Besides the cash and other perks, being named as Hockeyville offers a big community boost.

“The economic development spinoff for this can be huge,” Parsons said. “This is national attention.”

Sherry Haarstad was on Bentley’s Hockeyville committee when it finished third two years ago. The effort left a lasting legacy, she said.

“It is a legacy of community spirit that will stick with you long after,” she said. “The best part of it for sure is how it will bring your community together.”


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