Princeton Mayor Spencer Coyne has seen his community suffer a seemingly endless supply of setbacks in recent years.
It was threatened by fires, then historic floods destroyed homes and infrastructure. But it’s not the type of town that people should count out, Coyne said. Even as residents watched pieces of homes and infrastructure flow away in swampy waters they kept plowing ahead, come what may. They were always happy to pitch in, and always ready to help.
These days, they’re on a path to recovery but in many respects, a haze of uncertainty lingers as the rebuild continues.
There’s one thing Coyne is certain about, however. It’s that the community could use “a shot in the arm.”
That’s where the Kraft Hockeyville contest has come in, at just the right time.
This weekend it named Princeton one of the last four contenders in its yearly contest of hockey spirit. If it were to win, the town arena would get a $250,000 financial infusion that would make a world of difference to the aging facility. The mezzanine and changerooms could use some help with that money, but the roof would likely take the lion’s share.
“We need it pretty drastically, to be honest,” Coyne said. “We have a small tax base and we have so many expenses right now. That arena is the heartbeat of the community.”
From highland dance to karate and, of course, hockey it’s always a hive of recreational activity.
“In the winter, it’s where everybody is, every night of the week,” he said. “In the summer, it’s pivotal to the community.”
But, he said, it’s more than just a place for fun and frivolity.
As the largest facility in the community, it’s where people gather when there’s a funeral or a wedding and its improvement is necessary for the overall well-being of the town.
“It would really lift our spirits,” Coyne said. “Anything that’s good news right now helps. Trying to find those wins, no matter how big or how small, gives new life to everything we are doing.”
Princeton is the last B.C. community competing for the bounty of not only funds and bragging rights, but also an opportunity to host an NHL pre-season game on a date to be determined by Kraft Heinz Canada, the NHL and NHLPA.
Other finalists include Douro-Dummer, Ont., Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., and Sydney, N.S., and Coyne said he’d like to see the province support the “hometown team”
To help Princeton get a win, Coyne said polls open May 6 at 9 a.m. and close May 7 at 5 p.m.
Votes can only be cast on the website during the voting phase and voting per person is unlimited. The winner will be announced live on Hockey Night in Canada May 7 following the conclusion of the vote.
For more information, go to krafthockeyville.ca.