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Osoyoos named as finalist in Kraft Hockeyville contest once again
We did it again.
The Town of Osoyoos – and the Sun Bowl Arena – has made the final cut to be named Kraft Hockeyville 2014.
The final 16 communities were announced on Hockey Night in Canada during the second intermission of the game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Philadelphia Flyers.
Osoyoos residents and Canadians from coast-to-coast were asked to start voting as soon as the finalists were announced Saturday evening.
The first round of voting wrapped up Monday at midnight.
The announcement of which communities made the final four will be announced on Hockey Night in Canada on March 15.
Voting for the event officially opened after Hockey Night In Canada host Ron MacLean announced the 16 finalists live during Saturday night’s broadcast, with this year’s edition of the annual contest taking on an East vs. West theme.
Eight communities from Western Canada and eight communities from Eastern Canada are in the running for over $1 million in prizes, including money for arena upgrades as well as the chance to host a pre-season NHL game.
Because of the NHL lockout last season, the Kraft Hockeyville contest was cancelled.
As most local residents fondly remember, Osoyoos made the top 15 in Canada and top three in British Columbia during the 2012 contest.
Other B.C. communities to make the finals for Kraft Hockeyville 2014 were the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm and the Marysville Arena in Kimberly.
The other Canadian finalists include:
- Bruderheim Hockey Arena – Bruderheim, Alta.
- Akinsdale & Kinex Arena – St. Albert, Alta.
- Medican Multi-plex – Sylvan Lake, Alta.
- Credit Union iPlex – Swift Current, Sask.
- Arborg & District Arena – Arborg, Man.
- Richmond Memorial Arena – Richmond, Ont.
- Leo Boivin Community Centre – Prescott, Ont.
- Beeton Community Memorial Arena – Beeton, Ont.
- South Huron Recreation Centre – Exeter, Ont.
- Aréna du Pateau – Chicoutimi, Que.
- Credit Union Centre – Kingston, N.S.
- Amherst Stadium – Amherst, N.S.
- Bedeque & Area Recreation Centre – Central Bedeque, P.E.I.
All 16 communities announced on Saturday are guaranteed at least $25,000 for arena upgrades.
When the field is whittled down to just four entries, two come from the east and two from the west.
The final four communities will be announced on Saturday, March 15 with the next round of voting set to begin at midnight that day EDT or 9 p.m. PDT.
The final four communities are guaranteed $50,000 and will continue to be in the running for the overall crown, which will net the winner $100,000, plus a visit from CBC and a preseason NHL game.
Cathy Martins, the local woman who has spearheaded the campaign in Osoyoos to have our community entered on the Kraft Hockeyville website, was thrilled that Osoyoos has been named a finalist once again.
“I jumped out of my seat and screamed when I heard the good news,” she said smiling, while attending the Osoyoos Coyotes game Saturday evening. “I had a really good feeling that we would get named once again, but you really don’t know what’s going to happen because thousands of communities from across the country have entered.”
Osoyoos was the only community in the country to be named a repeat finalist from the contest held in 2012, which shows how much local residents love hockey and how much community spirit we share, said Martins.
‘I’ve lived here my whole life and I’ve always known we’re a great hockey community and we’ve proved it again,” she said.
Martins says there’s no reason Osoyoos can’t win the Kraft Hockeyville 2014 crown.
“We’re up against a bunch of other small towns spread across Canada,” she said. “We have as good a chance as anyone to win this.”
Randy Bedard, the owner of the Osoyoos Coyotes hockey club, said reaching the finals of Kraft Hockeyville once again is a flowing endorsement of how important the game of hockey is in this community.
“It’s awesome and it’s exciting,” said Bedard. “Cathy Martins has done a wonderful job drumming up support and the people of Osoyoos have responded once again. We have a great little community here that loves hockey and hopefully we’ll be able to go all the way this time.”