Woolwich’s love of hockey was evident enough to get it into the top-10 list of CBC’s Kraft Hockeyville contest in which communities from across the country are vying to be crowned the hockey capital of Canada in 2009.
The township was shortlisted as one of 10 finalists selected from a list of 195 entrants on Wednesday night. Voting to whittle that down to five began immediately after the list was announced, wrapping up at midnight on Sunday.
“We’re very excited to have made the top 10; it’s a tribute to the team that we have here,” said Elmira committee member Graham Snyder on Wednesday.
“We have a dedicated group of volunteers who have put a lot of work in the last little while and we’re going to have our team growing by leaps and bounds within the next few days; so we need votes from wherever we can get them,” he said, noting that a lot of work still lies ahead.
Indeed, supporters converging at St. Louis Bar and Grill in Waterloo to watch Wednesday’s installment of the Hockeyville TV show got to work as soon as the shortlist was announced and the polls were opened to voters.
Canadian hockey fans can vote for their community by visiting www.cbc.ca/hockeyville until 7:30 a.m. Monday. Once the top five are chosen, a profile of each will be shown on a series of Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts between Jan. 31 and Feb. 28. Another round of voting will then be held until Mar. 4 at 5 p.m.
The town or city that is named Hockeyville will have an NHL preseason game played in its community, an installment of CBC Hockey Night in Canada broadcast from that community, and $100,000 to upgrade its home arena. The other four finalists will get $25,000.
“It’s going to be crucial for us to get the support from the whole community – the whole team needs to pull together,” said Snyder.
Elmira’s initial submission in the fall highlighted famous Elmira alumni, the community’s outpouring of support after the death of NHL player Dan Snyder, and a new arena being built in his name.
Further entries were submitted by former players, minor hockey members, and people who reflected on the good old days playing the ‘good ol’ hockey game.’
Entries were judged on three categories including passion, community spirit and originality. Though pleased with the results Wednesday night, Snyder wasn’t too surprised given Woolwich’s love affair with the game.
“It’s something that we’ve shown over and over, that we grew up with and it’s just part of the fabric of our community that brings people together at the rink, and away from the rink.
“We were confident that our story would get heard; the community responded with close to 60 articles that they submitted and the selection committee obviously saw the spirit and the passion in those entries and that’s what got us where we are.”
Woolwich residents, friends, family and anyone else wanting to help with the effort are encouraged to vote as often as they can for the Woolwich bid. Voting can be done at the Hockeyville site (www.cbc.ca/hockeyville), from the Woolwich site (www.woolwichhockeyville.ca), by phone (1-866-533-8066 or by texting the community name (Woolwich) to 222111.
Anyone interested in contributing to Elmira’s bid can contact LuAnn Snyder at 519-669-1407 or firstname.lastname@example.org.