VERNON - Hockeyville voting may be over, but the momentum is still going.
The Village of Lumby was announced as the 2016 Hockeyville winner over the weekend, a victory that brings with it $100,000 in funds to upgrade the Pat Duke Memorial Arena, and the opportunity to host a pre-season NHL game in the area.
"It’s such a community experience, it had so many people excited about our hometown,” organizer Angie Clowry says.
The NHL game will be between the Edmonton Oilers and the Los Angeles Kings on Oct. 2. Representatives from the NHL, Sportsnet and Kraft Hockeyville will travel to the region in the coming weeks to check out venues in the area and determine where the game will be held. Despite speculation the game may be held in Vernon or Kelowna, Clowry says nothing is official until the site assessments are done.
“The decision has not been made yet, it could still be held in the Lumby arena,” Clowry says.
Lumby Mayor Kevin Acton says it’s been an amazing few weeks with incredible support from both within and beyond the community. He understands there’s a lot of interest in the NHL game, but is asking people to be patient as the location and ticket details are worked out.
“We have a lot of community spirit, a lot of community pride. A lot of people are going to want to come,” Acton says. “Kraft Hockeyville is going to do what they need to do to make this a big celebration, and I think they’re looking out for our best interests.”
Beyond the $100,000 and the opportunity to host an NHL game, Acton believes the contest also put Lumby on the map.
“I think with the national attention, and people going ‘where is Lumby?’ and starting to do a bit of research, Lumby is kind of the undiscovered jewel of the Okanagan. We’re 45 minutes from an international airport, we’re in a sunshine belt, we have everything an outdoor enthusiast could want. I believe with exposure like this it could lead to us being discovered nationally.”
A steering committee will be established soon to identify the best use of the $100,000 prize. The committee will work in conjunction with White Valley Parks and Recreation, and Clowry says they hope to leverage additional funds from the government or through fundraisers.
She says the community was amazing, with everyone from local politicians to residents who had never used a computer before coming together to vote.
“I can’t be more honoured to be driving this crazy bus with all these great people on it,” Clowry says.
For the latest information, Clowry says to keep checking their Facebook page. More details about ticket sales and the location of the game will be announced once confirmed.
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