During a day full of activity at the Robert French Memorial Stadium in C.B.S. Saturday, drinks were available for those working up a thirst as the town awaited word on whether they would be dubbed Kraft Hockeyville for 2011. Waiting for a beverage were Jody Boland (left), and Julia Dalton. Serving were Emma Dalton (second from left) and Anna Boland. C.B.S. won the competition. — Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram
For a brief moment early Sunday morning, Terry Dunn felt like a Stanley Cup champion.
When NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced Conception Bay South was the latest winner of the Kraft Hockeyville title, Dunn’s feeling of excitement was soon replaced by one of relief.
“I guess in a way I’m glad the day has come and gone, because the last couple of weeks have been pretty stressful,” he laughed.
C.B.S. beat out four other Canadian communities for the Hockeyville crown. In addition to the bragging rights, C.B.S. gets a hefty bag of goodies.
The town will host a 2011-2012 NHL pre-season game between the Ottawa Senators and Atlanta Thrashers sometime in September and receives $100,000 in arena upgrade money from Kraft Canada.
C.B.S. will also be featured on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada.
Minutes after the announcement, the news was sending ripples of excitement throughout the hockey-heavy community of about 25,000 people.
C.B.S. had been holding an all-day-long celebration on Saturday leading up to when the announcement was made during the first-period intermission of the Edmonton-Vancouver Hockey Night broadcast.
Organizers estimate that about 5,000 people participated in the day’s activities.
When Bettman turned the white envelope he was holding and it read Conception Bay South, it was a moment the likes of which a person does not easily forget, said C.B.S. Mayor Woodrow French.
“You’re almost speechless and you’re just so excited for the fans and so excited for the town ... it was just overwhelming.” C.B.S. Mayor Woodrow French
“You’re almost speechless and you’re just so excited for the fans and so excited for the town ... it was just overwhelming,” said French, on what it was like to be in the Robert French Memorial Stadium as the winning announcement was made.
The whole experience of participating in the Hockeyville competition has been a good one for the community, he added.
“The unifying effect on the town was just phenomenal and the turnout was just tremendous.”
French confirmed that a small team would be touring the town on April 11 to start making preliminary preparations for the pre-season game.
“It was a great committee that we had in place, everybody had a role and they gave 110 per cent. It was a good effort all the way around,” Dunn said.
In the end, C.B.S. received just shy of 1 million votes, nearly 300,000 more than the next highest town.
The four runner-up communities, Wolfe Island, Ont., Saint Raymond, Que., Bentley, Alta. and MacKenzie, B.C., will get $25,000 each in arena upgrade money.
There were 297 entries from coast to coast and more than three million votes were registered for the final selection process.