Pense in final four for Kraft Hockeyville

Since the Kraft Hockeyville promotion started in 2006, many Saskatchewan communities like Ituna, Wilcox, Wilkie and Lafleche have tried to win the honour but have failed. Pense will try to end the drought this year.

During Sunday’s Stanley Cup qualifying game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Toronto Maple Leafs, it was announced the community, just west of Regina, has been selected as one of the four finalists.

If Pense were to win the contest, they would earn the right to host an NHL exhibition game and get $250,000 in arena upgrades.  Others in the running are Saint Felicien, Quebec, Tyne Valley, Prince Edward Island and Twillingate, Newfoundland.

Board member Graeme Crosbie says it was a wide range of emotions for him after the top-four was announced.

“We put a lot of effort into this, so to see those efforts rewarded was a relief,” Crosbie said. “At the same time, it was super exciting and we got our work cut out for us in the next 10-11 days before the national vote, but we’re excited.”

Crosbie says the whole town is really excited about this opportunity.

“A lot of people have shared reaction videos from video taping themselves watching and seeing the news, because ideally we would have like to have been all together to see the announcement,” Crosbie said. “With everything going on in the world today with COVID and this and that, everyone had to kind of self-isolate and watch it on their own, but as soon as the announcement came out, my phone lit up, everyone’s so excited, and they’re just looking forward to the next stage here.”

Crosbie says the rink needs a new brine piping system and to re-level the ground underneath the ice.

“Outside of Kraft Hockeyville, we’ve raised $106,000, now we’ve got $25,000 guaranteed (because) we’re in the top-four,” Crosbie said. “If we can keep pushing and get that extra $225,000 that would come with being the Hockeyville champion, we’d be able to replace that in a year and for a town of 500 people, that would be absolutely incredible.”

Voting will be held August 14 with the winner being announced on “Hockey Night in Canada” on the 15th.

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