It isn’t the first time a Saskatchewan community has been a finalist in the competition, but has yet to win it all.
“It means a lot. Even to get into the top four, we’re guaranteed $25,000 for arena upgrades and $10,000 for our minor hockey program — which is great,” said Graeme Crosbie, Pense Memorial Rink board member.
“But there’s a quarter million dollars out there in front of us, and if we can get the whole province behind us and become the first to win… it will be incredible.”
Crosbie said the $250,000 would go a long way in terms of upgrading its hockey facility.
“We’d be able to get the infrastructure upgrades that we need done within the next year,” Crosbie said.
“We learned three years ago that we would need $300,000 to upgrade our piping system and to re-level the ground underneath our ice.”
The community has been able to raise about $106,000 over past the 18 months, but are still coming up short.
“You add that $106,000 to a quarter million from Kraft Hockeyville and we would be able to get there in a year and then we could put our minds to rest and not risk losing a season. It would be great,” Crosbie said.
Further upgrades would allow Pense’s minor hockey teams to be able to play more games in their own community rather than travelling to Regina or Moose Jaw.
“It means a lot to be able to play in your own backyard and sometimes walk a couple of minutes to get to practice,” Crosbie said.
“If your mom or dad’s working or whatever… it just means a lot to the kids”
If you driving along Highway 1 towards Pense on Friday, you may see the ever popular “Noodle Boy”, the unofficial mascot of Pense.
Noodle Boy is campaigning for votes along the highway.
“He is going to be walking along Highway 1 between the Grand Coulee turn off and all the way to the Pense rink as part of a convoy with a couple of combines,” Crosbie said.
“It ties in that agriculture flavor and the fact that harvest is starting and we’re an agricultural community. So, it’s very exciting.”
Saint-Félicien, Que., Tyne Valley, P.E.I., and Twillingate, N.L., are the three other finalists.
Voting opened at 9 a.m. ET on Friday and closes at 6 p.m. ET on Aug. 15. Votes are unlimited and can be made on the Kraft Hockeyville website.
“This year we received some of the most memorable and passionate stories on record,” said Matt Bruce, Kraft Heinz Canada’s senior brand manager on Aug. 2.
Kraft Hockeyville is done in partnership with the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players’ Association.