BY TREENA MIELKE
A huge wave of support was clearly evident for Sylvan Lake in its bid to win Kraft Hockeyville 2014 at a kick off to the challenge held at the Legion last Wednesday.
Not only was the hall filled with local supporters including Mayor Sean McIntyre, several councillors and many local business owners, out-of-town dignitaries and individuals attended the event, as well.
Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer and Hockey Alberta president Terry Engen were among those offering support and encouragement.
“At the end of the day, tragedy brings a community together,” said Veer, referring to the collapse the arena roof.
Her concluding statement, “We will support Sylvan Lake,” was met with a round of applause.
“Good luck. Sylvan Lake is a great community and Hockeyville (could be) a very important part of it,” added Engen.
Sherry Haarstad and Lane Moore, who were members of Bentley Hockeyville committee two years ago when the town placed fourth in the competition, complimented volunteers on their hard work.
“I am amazed by what you guys have done in the last month,” said Haarstad. She said the quest to win Hockeyville brings a community together.
“It is a legacy of community spirit that will stick with you long after.”
Moore said having volunteers step up early is very important.
“We are here to support you — just ask.”
McIntyre said the old arena held many special memories for himself and many others, but it was time to move on.
“We’ve all got great memories, but the reason we’re here is to make new memories,” he said.
Councillor Graham Parsons, head of the Hockeyville campaign, appealed to the crowd to spread the word that online Hockeyville voting will begin at 10 p.m. on March 8 and run for 48 hours.
“It’s important that everyone learn the process of voting. We need to blast emails all over to let people know what’s going on.”
Parson suggested voters use their creativity to figure out the best way to hold voting blitzes.
Some local supporters plan to gather at the Legion at 7 p.m. Saturday to kick off the voting.
Parsons stressed Sylvan Lake’s success depends on the willingness of its citizens to get involved.
“This is grassroots. It’s you and me,” he said. “It will be a huge community effort, but above all let’s make this fun.”
The winner of Kraft Hockeyville will win $100,000 in arena upgrades, the opportunity to host an NHL pre-season game and a visit from CBC.
Check out our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SylvanLakeNews to see artwork to rally support for Sylvan Lake’s Kraft Hockeyville campaign. Students from École Fox Run School and CP Blakely School have contributed drawings with a superhero theme.