Being a top two finalist in Kraft Hockeyville 2017 is a great accomplishment for O’Leary, P.E.I. and Ituna, Saskatchewan, suggests Linda Ferrandini, Kraft Heinz senior manager of portfolio marketing.
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.
“At 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.
“It 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.