Kingston in for ‘David and Goliath’ battle for Hockeyville crown: Fowler

Nancy Kelly
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Kingston got one step closer to being named Kraft Hockeyville on March 8 when it secured a spot in the top 16 of the contest. Wayne Fowler, centre, manager of Kingston’s Credit Union Centre, watched the announcement with about 250 other village residents. - Nancy Kelly 

Kingston is in for the fight of its life.

Credit Union Centre got a step closer to the Hockeyville crown March 8, when it was selected to take part in the CBC-sponsored national contest, but organizers say it won’t be easy to make it to the next stage.

Arena board president Wayne Fowler, who coordinated the village’s run for the contest that encourages Canadian communities to demonstrate their love of hockey and pride of place, says making the cut to round two may be more of a challenge.

“If we make it to the next stage in the competition, it will be a true David and Goliath story,” said Fowler, referencing the fact that many other arenas in the running are from much bigger communities than Kingston.

“Whatever happens, this whole process has been about community and restoring the arena to what it was and more,” added Fowler.

MLA Leo Glavine’s Kings West riding office is in Kingston and was a member of the planning committee when the rink was built nearly 40 years ago. He was also pleased with the announcement.

“I have never seen community spirit at this level before,” said Glavine.

He called the $25,000 prize the arena will receive for being named to the top 16 “icing on the cake,” that will bump up the $150,000 being provided by the province for upgrades to the facility. Work will begin this spring after the ice comes out at the end of the month.

The next stage will see the communities whittled down to four finalists – two from eastern Canada and four from the west – that will compete in a semifinal round. Those four communities are guaranteed $50,000. The winner of that round will go head to head for the top prize of $100,000, plus a visit from CBC and a preseason NHL game.

Also named in the competition March 8 were western region communities Salmon Arm, Marysville and Osoyoos in British Columbia, Alberta communities Bruderheim, St. Albert, and Sylvan Lake, Swift Current, Saskatchewan and Arborg, Manitoba. Eastern region communities in the running include Richmond, Prescott, Beeton and Exeter, all in Ontario, Chicocutimi, Quebec, Amherst, Nova Scotia and Central Bedeque, PEI.

Telephone and web voting begin at 11 p.m. on March 8 and will stay open for 48 hours. 

To vote, visit KraftHockeyville.ca, which is available on both computers and mobile devices, or call, toll free, 1-866-533-8066

Organizations: CBC, Union Centre, Arena board NHL

Geographic location: Kingston, Eastern Canada, Salmon Arm British Columbia Alberta Sylvan Lake Swift Current Saskatchewan Arborg Manitoba Richmond Ontario Quebec Nova Scotia

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