By JOSH ALDRICH
After a packed weekend of voting and promoting, all the organizers of Sylvan Lake’s Medican Multiplex Kraft Hockeyville bid can do now is wait.
The project was one of 16 from across Canada that made the first cut and $25,000 each in the annual contest.
Sylvan Lake needs to finish in the top four in voting to continue on its quest to secure $100,000 in funding and the title of Kraft Hockeyville, along with the opportunity to host an NHL exhibition game.
If the multiplex makes it into the top four, the cash prize jumps to $50,000. The final two communities each get $100,000.
First round voting wrapped up at 10 p.m. on Monday, but the final four will not be announced until the first game of the Hockey Night in Canada broadcast on Saturday night.
“This weekend, as much as it was nerve-wracking, we felt pretty good about our chances to being named into the top 16,” said Jared Waldo, the bid’s media relations director.
“This next step is a little more nerve-wracking because you go from 16 to four in a hurry … there’s a lot less known this time around.”
Local organizers were ready to roll with their voting campaign as soon as they were announced as a finalist. There were voting parties set up throughout the region, including at the Sylvan Lake Legion and H.J. Cody High School, where there was a constant trickle of voters throughout the weekend.
Waldo saw first hand the support the project has received, not just in Sylvan Lake but throughout the region.
“It’s extremely encouraging,” he said. “All of our surrounding communities will benefit from this because they’re the ones coming to Sylvan to play hockey or for figure skating competitions. It is a direct benefit to them, because, as we know, ice time is in limited supply across Central Alberta. When we’re down a sheet of ice … it requires the rest of the communities to step up and fill that void.”
The bid became critical for Sylvan Lake after the roof collapsed on the Sylvan Lake Arena in January.
Organizers, however, are not just sitting around and waiting for Saturday’s announcement. They are meeting tonight to figure out how to get the word out even more this weekend. They know they have to pick up their game if they make it to the final four.
“The closer you get, the more votes you’re going to need,” said Waldo. “We really want to rally the community together and have an event, because it is a celebration of our community and we want people to enjoy that.”