Sylvan Lake was full of pride after being named Kraft Hockeyville last year, and the Sylvan Lake Kraft Hockeyville Facebook page served as the central location where people connected, read stories, watched videos and discussed everything Kraft Hockeyville.
Behind the page was logo, brand and web graphic designer Dianne Womacks, who also works as a freelancer and teaches Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator at Red Deer College.
“I felt it was my responsibility to portray Sylvan and Lakers for who they truly are,” Womacks said. “That’s bottom line — beautiful community and beautiful people.”
Womacks said she didn’t plan on managing the page, but offered her branding insight into the page’s design. She didn’t expect the page would receive the mass attention it did, but committed herself to responding to questions people posted. That, she feels, helped inspire the dialogue that kept the Kraft Hockeyville conversation going.
“We didn’t have time to think how big it was going to be,” she said. “It was a day-by-day, moment-by-moment thing. If somebody asked a question or responded in a certain way, that would bring on the next post.”
Womacks described managing the page as “a full-time job.” She spent 14 to 17 hours a day managing it, and around 21 hours on voting weekends.
But that didn’t faze her. And things were happening so fast that within its first 24 hours, the page already had about three thousand likes.
“It was amazing,” Womacks said. “Every morning I would read all the new stories that were uploaded: very heart-felt, passionate stories about why people loved the arena and Sylvan Lake. The number of stories people wrote that were new to Sylvan Lake and were so impressed with the activities and the community spirit — that was truly exciting for me.”
She described the time during the contests nomination round as “moving.”
“Reading every day and listening to people tell their own little stories on the page was amazing,” she said. “They wanted to share, and to me, that was beautiful. The page was a success because of that.”
The Facebook page is still very much active — as is Womacks’ involvement with it — and Womacks now uses it to relay current community information. Recent postings offer information on Michael Arthur, the captain of the Atom AA Sylvan Lake Lakers hockey team who was recently diagnosed with leukemia, and Steven Dale, who recently received a pair of size 15 skates from NHL linesman Mike Cvik.
Womacks said through managing the page she learned how beautiful people are and that they have a love for Sylvan Lake, for Canada and for Canadians.
“People really do pull together,” she said. “The world is a crazy place and we have to stay focused on the positives and the happy things in life, because there are a million things happening around us.”