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O’Hockeyville? We’ll find out Saturday

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There was a lot of excitement in O’Leary two weeks ago when the community was declared the Eastern Canada finalist for Kraft Hockeyville’s 2017 national title.

Imagine how much more excitement there will be this Saturday night if the community is declared the overall winner of the title.

There’s a good chance O’Leary will get that nod. Certainly, a six-member committee worked long and hard to promote their nomination. Moreover, they successfully brought a small army of volunteers onside to vote, vote, vote, for O’Leary and to encourage others to do the same.

And now the small Saskatchewan community of Ituna is the only competitor standing in O’Leary’s way.

O’Leary’s Hockeyville committee was so focused and driven throughout the application and voting process that they captured the interest of people not even strongly connected to O’Leary or to hockey.

In some ways Hockeyville has become the talk of the province, a distraction from some of the more serious matters.

Regardless of who wins the title, both O’Leary and Ituna have already been assured $100,000 for upgrades to their respective arenas. That, by itself, is worth celebrating.

But $100,000 is not what will draw people to O’Leary this Saturday night; it’s that very good prospect that the small P.E.I., Maritime and Eastern Canadian community of O’Leary will win the contest. Of course, for hockey fans, the most exciting part of that prize is the opportunity to play host to a National Hockey League pre-season exhibition game.

Could there be a better prize than seeing, say, Toronto Maple Leafs squaring off with Montreal Canadiens at the O’Leary Community Sports Centre? Or Rangers and Senators?

No matter what teams the NHL sends, real hockey fans would acknowledge the hours they spent voting was time well spent.

Big responsibility for appointed board

Even more important than who wins Hockeyville is the decision that is coming down Monday night at Bluefield High School. It is there that the Board of Directors of the Public Schools Branch will reliever their response to the recommendations contained in the School Review process.

Along with recommendations for rezoning, there were five schools recommended for closure.
It might have been tempting for supporters of any of the five schools on the list to throw other schools under the bus to save their own, but they didn’t do that. They presented a united front advocating for keeping all of the schools operating

Much time and effort was spent on preparing strong presentations for the board of directors.
The difference here is the winner of Hockeyville is being decided by online voting while the future of the schools is in the hands and minds of three individuals. That’s a big responsibility to entrust to three appointed board members.

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