Strategy session: Nomination committee members Phil Stewart

Strategy session: Nomination committee members Phil Stewart

City makes push to be Hockeyville

Salmon Arm supporters are hoping to break away from the competition to claim the title of Kraft Hockeyville 2014

Who is Hockeyville? Salmon Arm is, that’s who.

Salmon Arm supporters are hoping to break away from the competition to claim the title of Kraft Hockeyville 2014 – or at least become one of the finalists.

Last week, the Salmon Arm Economic Development Society announced it had nominated Salmon Arm for Hockeyville. Communities nominated across Canada have until Feb. 9 to demonstrate who has the greatest community spirit and passion for hockey.

That’s done by going to the Kraft Hockeyville website,, and uploading content in the form of stories, photos and videos. The site offers tips on contributing content that will grab the judges’ attention.

Lana Fitt, Salmon Arm’s economic development manager, says the community’s enthusiasm has been overwhelming right from the moment the city’s participation was announced.

“The more I’ve gotten into this program, the more history and stories and neat community spirit there is. It makes me think it’s an excellent choice… and we are the perfect community to be Hockeyville.”

Kraft Hockeyville is an annual competition developed by CBC Sports and sponsored by Kraft Foods, the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association.

When the online judging is done, the top 16 communities in the contest become finalists, and $1 million in prizes will be shared among them.

The 16 finalists are announced March 8 on Hockey Night in Canada. After that, online voting takes place for 48 hours, where the field is narrowed down to four communities.

The community chosen as Hockeyville 2014 will get to host a pre-season NHL game, will receive $100,000 towards arena upgrades and will be featured on CBC TV.

The Salmon Arm Chamber of Commerce is challenging the business community to show its hockey pride, community spirit and originality by displaying the most creative Hockeyville display in support of Salmon Arm’s bid.

The contest began Jan. 20 and a panel of three judges will visit each registered business to determine contest winners on Jan. 31. Throughout the contest, the chamber will visit, photograph and post Hockeyville displays on the nomination site. Go to ‘community name,’ Shaw Centre, and ‘city name,’ Salmon Arm.

Other events are being planned, including Hockey Day in Salmon Arm on Feb. 1.

Tim Giandomenico, president of the Salmon Arm Minor Hockey Association, says this is an amazing opportunity to showcase the community.

“Our community is very unique and when we decide to do something, we go all in.”

Roy Sakaki, SAMHA administrator, is equally enthusiastic, talking about the thousands of youngsters who have put on Salmon Arm jerseys over the past five decades, and the parents, coaches, managers, referees, board members, organizers and sponsors who support them.

“The spirit of hockey is clearly evident in all our stakeholders.”