by Stephen Dafoe
Saturday night’s edition of Hockey Night in Canada probably had more Morinville residents watching the Flames Vs. Avalanche game than might normally be the case. Kraft announced their Top 10 finalists in this year’s Hockeyville contest early into the game.
Travelling west to east, Morinville was among the first to be announced among the top 10, an honour that carries with it $25,000 whether or not the community proceeds any further.
Morinville Kings’ President Wayne Gatza nominated Morinville for the contest back in late January and has worked tirelessly over the past weeks to promote Morinville to be in the top 10.
“I haven’t been this excited since the Kings won the provincials,” Gatza said in a phone interview shortly after the announcement Saturday night. “I was pretty excited and let out a big, loud woo hoo and jumped up and down. It’s a big step forward for our community and our rec centre. “As a member of the community, I’m very proud right now that we were able to come together as a group and push us into the Top 10.”
Morinville shares the Top 10 honours with Morden, Manitoba; Dawson Creek, BC; Bonnyville, AB; Haliburton, Ontario; Happy Valley – Goose Bay, NL; Saint-Joseph De Beauce, QC; Chatham, ON; Middleton, NS; North Saanich, BC.
Gatza said Morinville will need to continue to keep up the enthusiasm over the next week and beyond. “It’s a big challenge to overcome those other nine communities that are in there with us,” he said. “I look forward to even more support as we move forward.”
Voting will begin Mar. 21 at approximately 11 p.m. EST. Legal residents of Canada, 13 years of age and older, can begin voting on KHV2015.ca for their favourite Top 10 Entry for a period beginning on March 21.
This process will narrow down the five east and five west contenders to one eastern and one western finalist. Another round of voting will take place starting Mar. 28. The final winner will be announced Apr. 4. That winner will receive $100,000 in arena upgrades and a pre-season NHL game at their rink.
Gatza will be having a meeting on Monday to organize a big event to get out the vote when voting opens Mar. 21.
The Morinville News will bring those details as they are available.