Sylvan Lake makes Hockeyville finals

Cheers exploded at the Sylvan Lake Multiplex on Saturday when it was announced on Hockey Night in Canada that the community had made the finals in the Kraft Hockeyville contest.

Cheers exploded at the Sylvan Lake Multiplex on Saturday when it was announced on Hockey Night in Canada that the community had made the finals in the Kraft Hockeyville contest.

“It just was crazy,” said local organizer Graham Parsons of the crowd’s reaction.

“Everybody, it didn’t matter if you’re six years old or 86 years old, everyone was collectively the same — just elated.”

Coming out on top in the West was the culmination of an effort that saw hundreds of people take to their computers to register votes for Sylvan Lake.

Parsons said some voted 5,000 times a day, every day, until the polls closed. Local businesses organized challenges and local high schools and libraries opened their doors so voters could go online to cast their votes.

Making the final two means the community has now landed $100,000 to go towards much-needed upgrades to the facility. Sylvan Lake is also one step away from the being crowned Hockeyville 2014, an honour that comes with an opportunity to host an NHL pre-season game in town.

Sylvan Lake as winner in the West is up against Kingston, N.S.. from the East. The winner will be announced during the April 5 Hockey Night in Canada broadcast.

Parsons said besides the tireless efforts of local volunteers, the community’s trials likely struck a chord with many.

“The story is pretty compelling,” said Parsons. The $100,000 will go towards replacing a shared concession and lobby lost with the destroyed arena.

Whether Sylvan Lake takes wins the final round or not, Hockeyville has pulled the community together.

“You’d always like to win. You’d like to see the (pre-season) game. But it’s about community spirit and team building.

“This whole thing is a project that people don’t want to not be part of.”

Volunteer Dianne Womacks used her branding and web designing skills to create the community’s Hockeyville Facebook page and was still buzzing with excitement on Sunday afternoon.

“I haven’t had time to even think about it in one word: unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable,” said Womacks. “I still want to pinch myself today.

“We knew that everybody had worked so hard and we had a good feeling.” But until the town’s name flashed up on CBC, nobody could be sure it was enough.

The whole experience has been amazing with support coming from across Canada “ocean to ocean.”

Online reach-outs have come from as far away as Fort Francis, in the northwestern part of Ontario and had been in the early running. Supporters there contacted Sylvan Lake and even suggested a future hockey match-up between their two hockey teams both called Lakers.

“For communities all across Canada — we’re separated by literally thousands of kilometres — but we’re neighbours,” said Womacks.

Voting for the final closes at 9:59 p.m. (MDT) today. Go to:

Just Posted

BREAKING: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ways to prevent a kitchen fire

Fire prevention officer releases safety tips

The cost of flushing sanitary wipes is brought to Red Deer city council

More public education is needed about what not to flush down toilets

WATCH: Rebels play floor hockey with Annie L. Gaetz students

The Rebels may be on a losing streak but they were definitely… Continue reading

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Central Albertans recall Hawaii’s false missile alert

Former Red Deer councillor Paul Harris was hanging out at the Ka’anapali… Continue reading

This robotic maid takes us one step closer to ‘The Jetsons’

Imagine this: You’re rushing to get ready for work — juggling emails,… Continue reading

Milan line offers canine couture for pampered pooches

Milan has long been the world’s ready-to-wear fashion leader. Now, dogs are… Continue reading

Kim Kardashian West and husband Kanye welcome baby girl

NEW YORK — It’s a girl for Kim Kardashian West and her… Continue reading

Advocate poll takers oppose plastic bag ban

Red Deer Advocate readers like their plastic bags. In an Advocate poll,… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month