Monday, 19 March 2012

Beardy's/Duck Lake Bid Reaches Hockeyville Top Five

The Beardy's and Okemasis First Nation/Duck Lake bid to be named 2012 Kraft Hockeyville is on to the final stage of the competition.

The Beardy's bid reached the Top Five becoming the first entry from a First Nations community to enter into the last round of the Kraft contest.  Organizers hope that fact will turn into some extra votes garnering support from the Aboriginal community.  "We need as many First Nations and Aboriginal people across the province and across the country to vote for us," said spokesperson Kevin Seesequasis, "this is a once in a lifetime thing and it won't be available to us again for a long, long time."

Community support for the bid has been tremendous.  This weekend, there was a festival put on around the announcement of the Top Five communities that included a road hockey tournament and concert/talent show.

Photo Source: Beardy's Entry Page
Multiple voting stations were set up around town to help build the voting base.  People can vote as many times as they like, so voting hubs can be the main part of a bid's success.  There are stations set up in houses, school computer labs and the Beardy's Memorial Arena has wifi set up in addition to a call centre.  The problem is, all of that's for naught without electricity.

A power outage in Saskatoon also affected outlying communities, including Duck Lake and Beardy's, severely hampering local voting.  "Holy smokes, it's (the power outage) pretty much grinded it (voting) to a halt," sighed Kevin, "we're losing, quite literally, thousands of votes a second and that's affecting our efforts in a very negative way.  We're hoping everyone else around the province can pick up the slack."

By reaching the Top Five communities, Beardy's already won $25,000 in rink upgrades for the Beardy's Memorial Arena which houses the Saskatchewan Midget AAA League's Beardy's Blackhawks.  The goal, though, is the big $100,000 prize and hosting a National Hockey League pre-season game.  The community hopes to use the money to replace the current arena lights with high efficiency lighting which will significantly cut operating costs.  Organizers also hope to replace their 20 year old zamboni and make minor upgrades around the building.

It's going to be a tough road, especially losing roughly half a day of voting with the outage, but nobody's discouraged.  Kevin left one last message for everyone before we wrapped up the interview.

"We want to be Canada's next Kraft Hockeyville, so hopefully you can help us."

Voting closes tomorrow night (March 20th) at ten o'clock (Mountain Time), you can vote as many times as you like at this link:

Good luck to everyone involved with the Beardy's/Duck Lake bid!


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