O’Leary learns tonight whether it’s continuing

Published on March 17, 2017
A variable message board sign near O’Leary Corner is reminding passersby of the March 12 and 13 window for voting for O’Leary’s entry in the national Kraft Hockeyville contest
Eric McCarthy/TC Media

The committee behind O’Leary’s bid to become Kraft Hockeyville 2017 is proceeding just the way it has to this week: It is making preparations just in case O’Leary’s name is heard when the Eastern and Western Canada finalists for the title are announced during the Hockey Night in Canada sportscast tonight.

If you’re wanting to hear the announcement first-hand, you’ll have to stay up until close to midnight.

Of course, if O’Leary is announced as a finalist, you might want to head off to bed soon afterward so that you can be awake and fresh when final round voting opens Sunday morning at 10 o’clock. Even more votes will be needed in the next round of online voting to push a finalist over the top.

We really don’t know what sort of a push the other communities in the Top-10 have given, but we know this O’Leary committee has put in an incredible effort and has gained widespread support. They certainly stand a good chance of having their name called Saturday night.

And if they don’t? Well, it wouldn’t be from lack of effort.

They’ve done a great job of getting heard and the wave of community pride they’ve created has washed across the entire province.

A good example of this was the special voting station that opened at the O’Leary Christian Education Centre last Monday. It sought to assist anyone who did not have access to computers or lacked computer skills, seniors in particular, and many others jumped at the opportunity to get on the Hockeyville bandwagon. They proudly helped with the cause.

The provincial government got involved, encouraging staff to use their breaks to cast votes, and digital display signs helped get the word out to travelers.

Many people spent hours clicking the right boxes on their phones, computer screens or tablets – or, in some cases, all three - and confirming they were not robots.

If O’Leary gets through to the next round, the committee will want those people voting again, and they are even encouraging supporters to organize voting parties, confident that approach will be even more fun and productive.

The prize of $100,000 for arena upgrades, for placing tops in the East was worth voting for but, really, the opportunity to bring an NHL pre-season exhibition game to P.E.I. is what’s generating the most excitement, and that game will only happen here if O’Leary makes it to the final round and, then generates more votes in the final round than the western Canada finalist.

Whatever the outcome, O’Leary’s already a winner because of the buzz and awareness this competition has created.

This Sunday and Monday is the final round of voting for the 2017 competition. Then it’s just a matter of waiting until April 1 to learn which Canadian community will lay claim to the title.
Voting Sunday and Monday will help influence the outcome.