Bedeque area leverages support celebration

Journal Pioneer staff
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Bedeque and Area Recreation Centre continues competition for Kraft Hockeyville prize

CENTRAL BEDEQUE – Hundreds of visitors packed the Bedeque Area Recreation Centre Sunday afternoon, celebrating community support and reveling in the announcement of the selection of the facility to advance in the 2014 Kraft Hockeyville competition.

The Bedeque and Area Recreation Centre planned a celebration of community support, which turned into support to advance in the Kraft Hockeyville contest. Jessica MacDonald used a portable computer set up among historical photos to add her votes to the semi-final tally.

The volunteer board of the centre had arranged the day in appreciation of community support for the rink, especially through the initial stages of the contest. A photo history of the centre was on display in the upstairs common room, an appreciation cake was ready to be distributed, a donation box set up and a food bank container put in place to extend the benefit of the event.

The result announced Saturday night during Hockey Night in Canada encouraged the organizers to also set up a voting table filled with portable computers, to get a jump on the second phase which ends Monday night.

Board chair Kevin Schurman was pleased that wider support for the rink got them to the second round, but recognized that everyone needs to vote to make it through the next stage.

“Islanders support Islanders, and we are getting a lot of support from our neighbouring communities,” he acknowledged.

The largest nearby community, Summerside, has partnered to hold the grand prize NHL game at the Eastlink arena of Credit Union Place should Central Bedeque be ultimately successful. Similar arrangements have been made previously to maximize interaction with local audiences. In a more immediate fashion, the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) Summerside Western Capitals emphasized the connection between communities by joining residents on the ice for the celebration.

Being named to the long-list guarantees at least $25,000 in arena upgrades. Among other upgrades needed due to age, maintaining the ice-making equipment will be the most pressing problem to be addressed with that money.

We're trying to get all P.E.I. behind us! Kevin Schurman, chair of the Bedeque and Area Recreation Centre volunteer board

“We just haven’t had the funds to upgrade it. Now we will,” Schurnan acknowledged, recognizing that it is just a start and that further funds will have to be sought to sustain the centre.

The most obvious avenue is to continue success in the Kraft Hockeyville campaign.

“We’ve been telling everybody we know! Social media is a great tool; you can get out to thousands of people in just a few clicks,” he detailed.

Supporters have been erecting signage, business are encouraging in the same way and media coverage has been advantageous, Schurman identified.

“We’ve just been trying to push it: tell everybody you know; vote as many times as you can. We’re trying to get all of P.E.I. behind us,” he encouraged, noting that such an effort may have a wider impact as Islanders have a lot of connections in other parts of Canada.

The second round of voting continues until 11:59:59 p.m. ET on Monday, March 10. Voting is open to legal residents of Canada who are 13 years of age or older (13-17 years with guardian permission), and anyone can vote for any nominated community. The number of votes per individual is unlimited.

The top four will consist of two candidates from eastern Canada and two from western Canada.

Organizations: Islanders, NHL, Credit Union Place Maritime Junior Hockey League

Geographic location: Canada, P.E.I.

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Recent comments

  • Scall
    March 10, 2014 - 12:17

    I'm all for supporting the small community rinks, they are fighting to survive as the big rinks and associations continue to get bigger and gobble up what kids there are still playing hockey. Things like this contest really help. I thought this was a great article until I read that Credit Union Place is offering to host the NHL game if Bedeque could possibly win. That's great because Bedeque would hold at best a few hundred people, but is CUP going to offer up the cash this would make and hand it over to Bedeque that this would bring in?