As of Saturday night’s Hockey Night in
Canada announcement, O’Leary and Ituna are the only communities still in
running for the 2017 title. They’ve earned $100,000 each for arena upgrades.
Thirty-nine hours of feverish online voting
will end at 12:59 a.m. (Atlantic) Tuesday morning. Contest organizers will then
tally all the votes received and announce this year’s champion on April 1. That
champion will get the Hockeyville trophy and an NHL pre-season game.
“I think what keeps them rallying is that
title of being the official Kraft Hockeyville community for 2017 and being that
grand prize winner and then, of course, bringing the NHL home to your local
community and hosting that pre-season game. It’s a huge honour for any hockey
fan, especially for those communities,” Ferrandini commented.
this point, it’s out of our hands and it’s really up to the communities on how
best to rally,” she said Monday.
The more than 3.9 million votes that were
cast online last Sunday and Monday were what narrowed the Top-10 field down to
O’Leary and Ituna.
Organizers would not reveal the vote count
for any of the individual communities in the running.
was a very strong showing for votes and O’Leary clearly came out as number one
in our eastern half,” Ferrandini confirmed.
“I think everybody goes about it
differently and you’ve got to figure out what the right avenue for success is
for your community, but it is really interesting to see how both communities
have taken to social; have taken to different activities locally to help rally
that vote,” she said, noting Kraft Heinz has been tracking their activities
through media scans and social media.
Ferrandini said Kraft Heinz would be
reaching out to the winning community once the results are known on April 1 to
discuss the delivery of their prize.
Prior to that, though, they will reach out
to both O’Leary and Ituna to help them plan big announcement parties on April
1. The parties will be broadcast live, an opportunity for the two communities
to display to Canada why they are Hockeyville.
“We’re really excited that both finalists
have been able to secure $100,000 in funding for their arenas, and hopefully
that will go a long way towards starting some of the renovations they’ve
mentioned in their nomination,” Ferrandini said.