Sylvan Lake Hockeyville committee members gathered to remove the lid from the first ballot box of Hockeyville pre-season NHL ticket entries to be drawn from at the Multiplex last Wednesday. Members present included Dianne Womacks-Nelson

Sylvan Lake Hockeyville committee members gathered to remove the lid from the first ballot box of Hockeyville pre-season NHL ticket entries to be drawn from at the Multiplex last Wednesday. Members present included Dianne Womacks-Nelson

Hockeyville celebrations set to kick off on Sunday

Nearly six months after Sylvan Lake was announced Kraft Hockeyville 2014, the wait is finally over

Nearly six months after Sylvan Lake was announced Kraft Hockeyville 2014, the wait is finally over for Sylvan Lakers eager to celebrate their triumph, with four days of community celebrations set to kick off on Sunday.

While the grand prize NHL preseason game will take place Wednesday (Sept. 24), there’s plenty of Hockeyville-related activities taking place before then and throughout the four-day festival.

Organizers are assuring that the series of events — which begins with ‘Sunday Funday’ at Centennial Park — is not to be missed.

“We’re inviting everybody down, because it’s going to be a beautiful day, and what a perfect backdrop to a great festival, and a great start to a fun four days,” said Sylvan Lake Hockeyville committee chair Graham Parsons.

On-site attractions on Sunday will include live music, bouncy castles, Kraft sampling kiosks and a barbecue in support of local community organizations. The Stanley Cup will also be present, and the day will kick off with a speech from Mayor Sean McIntyre.

Monday will then see minor hockey clinics hosted in the afternoon, with assistance from Hockey Alberta and Sylvan Lake Minor Hockey.

On Tuesday, NHL officials will host a clinic for Central Alberta referees, and Wednesday will see the NHL preseason game played between the Arizona Coyotes and the Calgary Flames at 5 p.m. Practices will take place earlier in the day.

But that’s not all there is look forward to on Wednesday, say organizers. Those who were unable to obtain tickets to the game will be treated to plenty of fun and entertainment during a viewing party outside, where there will be more food, live music and other activities. NHL teams will make a red carpet arrival in the morning.

St. James’ Gate and West of the Fifth are just some of the musical acts who will perform throughout the four-day festival, which Parsons is referring to as a “celebration of the community, and of what we’ve done since Jan. 20 (when the roof of the Sylvan Lake Arena collapsed).”

“It’s just going to be a great event,” he said. “It’s a gift from Kraft Hockeyville to the community, and we want to make it the best Kraft Hockeyville party ever. We think we’re the perfect venue for it.”

Although Hockeyville celebrations kick off officially on Sunday, Friday’s Farmers’ Market will also have a Hockeyville theme. Those who simply can’t wait until Sunday to “let their fun out,” Parsons is encouraging to attend.

A hockey-themed drive-in movie will then be shown at Canadian Tire on Saturday.

Organizers are promising plenty of surprises over the course of the festival. The NHL preseason game will be televised both domestically and abroad.

A full overview of events, times and details will be posted to the Sylvan Lake Hockeyville 2014 Facebook page, and is available on page 7 of this week’s Sylvan Lake News.