Hockeyville: Regional mayors throw support behind West Kelowna

Kelowna, Peachland and Lake Country mayors have indicated that they are in support of West Kelowna's bid to become Kraft Hockeyville 2012.

(From left) Mayors Keith Fielding (Peachland)

(From left) Mayors Keith Fielding (Peachland)

If West Kelowna can advance to the second phase of the Kraft Hockeyville 2012 competition, voting will matter.

And now, thanks to endorsements from regional mayors, thousands of additional people have a reason to cheer for West Kelowna.

This week Kelowna mayor Walter Gray, Lake Country mayor James Baker and Peachland mayor Keith Fielding all indicated they are in support of West Kelowna’s bid to become Hockeyville.

“If we advance to the top 15, then it becomes a numbers game,” said West Kelowna Hockeyville co-chair, Adam Less.

“We’ll need the support from all surrounding communities to secure a spot in the final five.”

From November, 2011 to January, 2012, West Kelowna residents uploaded photos and stories to the Kraft Hockeyville website in order to display their community’s passion for the sport.

During a Hockey Night in Canada broadcast on March 3, the top 15 communities will be announced.

If West Kelowna gets shortlisted, there will be three days of voting from March 4 to 6.

Less said organizers have arranged to have a public voting centre ready to go around the clock at the Best Western Hotel immediately following Saturday’s announcement.

“Anyone from anywhere can vote as often as they like. The public is welcome to join us at the voting centre. But people don’t have to vote from the voting centre; they can vote from anywhere,” said Less.

CBC and Kraft will release voting details later this week. Those details can be found at http://krafthockeyville.cbc.ca/.

If West Kelowna manages to squeeze its way into the final five, it will receive $25,000 for arena upgrades and will host CBC live from its rink on March 31: The date that the winner of Kraft Hockeyville is announced.

The winning community will receive an additional $100,000 in arena upgrades and the opportunity to host a pre-season NHL game this fall.

“There’s a lot at stake here and we hope folks from surrounding communities see the value this can bring to our whole region,” said Less.

“The exposure the Okanagan will receive nationwide is huge, and the benefits of hosting an NHL right here in the Okanagan will be tremendous for all of us.”

wpaterson@kelownacapnews.com

Kelowna Capital News