O’Leary, P.E.I. broadening its Kraft Hockeyville reach

Needing widespread support to win national competition

Published on March 20, 2017

Chris Reyno keeps four voting windows open while voting in support of O’Leary’s nomination to become Kraft Hockeyville 2017. Reyno was making use of hi-speed internet in the computer lab at Holland College Alberton on Sunday.

©Eric McCarthy/TC Media

O’LEARY – All the members of O’Leary’s Hockeyville committee are getting by on limited sleep today as they continue to cast online votes and strategize on ways to broaden the vote throughout eastern Canada.

They know that supporters of Ituna, Saskatchewan, the only Canadian community standing in O’Leary’s way to becoming raft Hockeyville 2017 is doing the same across western Canada.

O’Leary was declared the Eastern finalist Saturday on Hockey Night in Canada to go up against the Western finalist, Ituna, in online voting to determine the overall champion. Voting ends at 1 a.m. (Atlantic) early Tuesday morning.

“We definitely have Bay Roberts onside, big time.

They’re working hard for us,” committee member Jo-Anne Wallace said of the enthusiastic show of support from the only Newfoundland community to make the National Top-10. Once the Eastern Canada field got narrowed to one community Bay Roberts jumped onboard with O’Leary. A video message of support has been promised from the Collingwood, Ontario nomination.

Committee member, Bill MacKendrick noted on social media that O’Leary hopes to use the $100,000 it gets for being the eastern finalist in the Kraft Hockeyville competition to leverage government funding for needed renovations to the Community Sports Centre.

An NHL exhibition game gets added to its prize if it beats Ituna in online voting.

Across P.E.I., the support has been strong both during the first round and again this time.

The committee had access to the Future Tech West  computer lab with its hi-speed access last week, and volunteers are staffing computers there again this time. As well, computer labs have opened up for voting in Tignish and Alberton for the final round. MacKendrick estimates those additional labs accounted for 100,000 more votes Sunday, and he is expecting similar numbers today.

“We had a really strong Sunday at the voting stations,” Della Sweet acknowledged. She added lots of voting is going on in homes and offices, too.

She noted some businesses are even encouraging employees to vote during working hours.

The committee’s Monday morning strategy session, Wallace said, was focusing on keeping the momentum going and encouraging people to keep voting right until the 1 a.m. cut-off.

As of Monday morning the committee’s O’Leary Hockeyville Helpers Facebook page had attracted 23,987 members.