Wilkie residents will now have to hurry up and wait to find out whether or not their community will get a much needed upgrade.
After a 36-hour voting period, the community of just over 1,200 will now have to wait until Saturday night to see if they will become one of the final two communities in the Kraft Hockeyville 2017 competition.
“Now we wait,” event co-coordinator Kathy Heiman told battlefordsNOW. “It’s kind of hard because we have been at this since January and it has consumed our lives for the past few weeks, but I wouldn’t have trade the experience for anything.”
The finalists of Kraft Hockeyville 2017 will be announced Saturday night, March 18, during Hockey Night in Canada. One community from Western Canada will be selected as well as one community from Eastern Canada. The winning community will receive $100,000 for arena upgrades and will host an NHL pre-season game this fall. Since Wilkie is one of the top 10 communities Wilkie it is guaranteed $25,000 in upgrades.
Heiman said that even if the community was successful in getting into the top two it was an unbelievable experience.
“Everyone I have talked with since the voting stop Monday night has talked about how much fun it was,” Heiman added. “Sitting with your friends, sitting with strangers all with one common goal really brought the community together.”
Wilkie Outlaw coach and defenceman Derek Keller concurred with Heiman saying the excitement was not only in the Wilkie area but throughout the region.
“It was surreal to see the community rally around Kraft Hockeyville,” Keller said “Not only here in the immediate area but all over Western Canada people jumped on the Wilkie bandwagon and supported our town.”
As a member of the Wilkie Outlaws, Keller knows first-hand how important the Saskcan Community Centre means to the community. In 2015 a devastating fire ravaged the rink and forced all the groups who regularly use the facility, including the Outlaws to seek other venues for ice time.
“Like any small town the rink is the focal point of the community,” Keller said. “It was a stressful time for our community but even more so for kids and parents of minor hockey teams who had to go out of town to practice and play games which is not easy at any age.”
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