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West Kelowna makes Kraft Hockeyville top 15

Let the votin' begin.

West Kelowna is one 15 communities across Canada that will compete for the title of Kraft Hockeyville, named during the first period intermission of the Vancouver-Buffalo game on Hockey Night In Canada.

Voting has begun on the first phase of the contest, which will see a winner chosen from each of the five regions.

At stake for the Kraft Hockeyville final 5 will be $100,000 in improvements to the community's local arena, chance to host an NHL exhibition game and earning the moniker of "soul of the game" for the next year.

The Pacific Region will see West Kelowna grouped with Campbell River and Osoyoos.

The other regional finalists break down this way:

Atlantic: Pownal, P.E.I; Yarmouth, N.S.; St. Andrews, N.B.

Quebec: Saint-Ephrem de Beauce, Amos, and Chicoutimi.

Ontario: Stirling-Rawdon, Goderich and Bancroft

West: Duck Lake, Sask., Teulon, Man.; and Rosthern, Sask.

Now that West Kelowna has advanced to the top 15 of the Kraft Hockeyville 2012 contest, computers and phones will be the tools to make it to the top five.

Voting for phase two of the competition is now underway. The voting period will stay open until 9 p.m. on Tuesday, March 6.

Voting is open to everyone worldwide and is unlimited—voters can submit as many votes as they wish.

Hockeyville co-chair Andrew Deans, who was also a part of Terrace's winning Hockeyville campaign in 2009, said that he alone voted 10,000 times during the second phase of Terrace's run and 15,000 times during the third phase.

Mayor Doug Findlater said that he will be "calling in favours" with the people on his e-mail list, hoping that they will submit votes for West Kelowna.

Votes can be submitted two ways, either online at www.krafthockeyville.ca or via toll-free telephone at 1-866-533-8066.

Those who use the online method should click "vote now" on the homepage, then select West Kelowna, enter the verification information in the provided field and click "place vote."

Telephone voters are encouraged to follow the automated voice prompts, type in a two-digit code corresponding with the community they would like to vote for and then type in a two-digit random code provided to verify their vote.

As an additional incentive to vote, the Hockeyville committee will also be manning an around-the-clock Telus voting centre at the Best Western Hotel in West Kelowna—open from 9 p.m. Saturday until 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Those wishing to vote at the voting centre will be given free access to a bank of Telus Mobility cell phones and computers for voting.

The committee will have food and refreshments on hand at the voting centre and will be awarding various prizes, including a big screen TV and autographed hockey memorabilia, to the most dedicated voters.

Hockeyville co-chair Adam Less said that, regardless of the Hockeyville outcome, he feels as though West Kelowna "has already won."

"I think it is an amazing achievement for what is a new community to be recognized on a national stage with other communities that have been around, in some cases, for 100 years or more," said Less.

"We've engaged the entire community and tried to do everything we can to promote West Kelowna to all of Canada."

He said that West Kelowna needs the support of as many people across the province as possible in order to make it into the top five.

"We can't do this alone. If we do make it into the top 15 and advance to the next round of voting, this requires the support of all our neighbours to the north and the south," said Less.

"We really believe that we can win this."


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