Wolseley, Sask. looking for go ahead goal in Kraft Hockeyville contest

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Wolseley, Sask. looking for go ahead goal in Kraft Hockeyville contest
It is an exciting time in Wolseley, Saskatchewan as they have been named a finalist in the 18th Kraft Hockeyville competition – Mar 16, 2024

If you have ever been to rural Saskatchewan, chances are you have stopped by the old hockey rink in town, where seemingly everyone gathers even if there isn’t a hockey game on.

The rink in Wolseley Sask., is no different, but the barn is starting to show its age. The town might, however, have a chance for major improvements to the rink that would impact generations of players and families to come.

The town of Wolseley has been named one of the four finalists for the 18th Kraft Hockeyville competition.

Vance Weber has lived in the community for 15 years, where he fell in love with the environment and people. Weber is also a member of the Wolseley Sportsplex board. He said the rink has always been incredibly special to the community.

“It starts from day one,” Weber explained. “Watching your kids grow up skating on here and I have had four of my kids learn to skate here. But more than that, it’s a sense of community. “It’s a place to gather in those cold winter months when it’s hard to be outside. Get together with your friends and discuss the world’s problems and watch some kids play hockey. It’s a lot of fun.”

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The winner of the national contest will be awarded $250,000 for arena upgrades and will have a chance to host an NHL pre-season game.

Wolseley hosts many hockey tournaments throughout the year. Moosa Imran / Global News

For Janelle Bieber and her three kids involved in figure skating and hockey, they spend at least four days a week at the rink.

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“We just really want to keep this rink running,” Bieber said. “We might have grandkids some day and we want to keep it going for hockey and skating however we can.”

Weber said three different first nations, and five other towns also use the rink.

“We host a lot of out-of-town tournaments between our cheap ice and pretty solid facilities and good rink burger,” he said with a laugh.

Wolseley is up against Enderby, B.C., Cochrane, Alta., and Elliot Lake, Ont., in the final voting.

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If Wolseley wins, it will become the first place in Saskatchewan to win the award. Other Sask. towns like Pense, Lumsden and Assiniboia have all been named finalists over the last four years.

“The excitement hockey fans have for this program never ceases to amaze me – their dedication fosters inclusivity and accessibility on the ice, ensuring that the joy of the sport can be experienced by every Canadian,” said Simon Laroche, the president of Kraft Heinz Canada.

Voting begins March 29 at 7 a.m. Saskatchewan time and ends March 30 at 3 p.m. While voting is open, people can vote as many times as they want.

The winner will be announced live on Hockey Night in Canada on the evening of March 30.

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