West Kelowna undertakes Hockeyville marathon vote

Those hoping for West Kelowna to become Hockeyville 2012 have been busy voting online and via telephone since Saturday evening.

April Williams submits one of the thousands of votes she has placed since Saturday for West Kelowna to become Hockeyville 2012. Voters have been congregating at the Best Western Hotel voting station since West Kelowna was named one of the 15 communities still in the running for the Hockeyville title.

On Saturday evening, CBC announced that West Kelowna was one of 15 communities still in the running to become Kraft Hockeyville 2012.

Immediately following the announcement, the voting window was opened and West Kelowna residents began placing votes online and via telephone. That voting window closes Tuesday at 9 p.m. Until then, there is no limit on the number of times each individual can vote.

As an incentive to vote, Hockeyville organizers set up a voting station at the Best Western Hotel on Carrington Road. Some dedicated voters have spent nearly every possible hour at that voting station, repeatedly typing in verification codes and then clicking on the vote button.

One of those dedicated voters is April Williams.

Williams arrived at the voting station as soon as it opened on Saturday night. She stayed until volunteers told everyone to call it a night—around 2 a.m. Sunday morning.

She was back later Sunday morning at 11 a.m. and put in an 11 hour shift before packing it in just after 10 p.m.

She returned Monday morning at 8 a.m. with plans to stay the entire day and all through the night.

Most would assume that Williams is a lifelong hockey fan; however, she is very much a rookie to the sport.

“I became a fan last year. I had never seen a hockey game or played hockey. My friend brought me to one of the Warriors games and then I was hooked,” said Williams.

Williams was raised in Huntington Beach, California, where she grew up skateboarding and surfing.

She moved to West Kelowna two years ago and has slowly been taken over by the sport of hockey.

Averaging approximately six votes per minute, as of 11 a.m. Monday, Williams had placed over 6,000 votes. But that is just counting votes she submitted from the community voting location.

Williams said that she has also been voting constantly at home. At one point, she even experimented with voting both by computer and via telephone at the same time.

When asked what has been fueling her through the monotonous task of staring at a computer screen and clicking buttons, she quickly replied, “Coffee.”

Andrew Deans, co-chair of West Kelowna’s Hockeyville bid, has also put in many hours at the voting station. He said that he’s been impressed with the level of dedication from local voters.

“It’s absolutely amazing; I didn’t expect this much community response,” said Deans.

“Young and old alike are all here right now; that’s kind of what Hockeyville is all about. It’s not really about hockey, it’s about the community and how they can come together through this.”

Steven Francis, a committee member of the Hockeyville initiative, said that voters aren’t stopping after they step out of the Best Western.

“People come down for the fellowship and the fun of it all and to feed off the energy. But we’re finding that they’re continuing the vote at home too. It’s the kind of stuff that’s contagious, fun and exciting—they’re working for the betterment of the community.”

Votes can be placed online at www.krafthockeyville.ca or via toll free telephone at 1-866-533-8066.