Community pride the true legacy of Hockeyville win

Reporter's Notebook

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Well, that doesn’t suck.”

With that, Jared Waldo wryly summed up the feelings of more than a thousand screaming Sylvan Lake supporters as they celebrated the town being named 2014’s Kraft Hockeyville.

When the roof of the town’s arena collapsed this winter, Waldo and friend Kevin Putnam nominated their hometown for the contest and the chance to win $100,000 in upgrades for the multiplex (the town’s remaining ice rink) and to host a NHL pre-season game.

People inside a multiplex
Sylvan Lake’s multiplex was packed to the rafters as people eagerly waited to learn if the town was victorious. (click image for full view) photo: Jennifer Blair

Over the past two months, I’ve watched the people of central Alberta rally together, share their stories, garner millions of votes, and support the community. My father — a Sylvan Laker for the last decade — wore his fingers out voting in each round of the contest. (Mom did her part, too, voting a grand total of once.)

And I joined them April 5, walking in a parade that weaved through downtown Sylvan to the soon-to-be expanded multiplex, and chanting, “Go, Sylvan, go! Go, Sylvan, go!”

We feasted on cake and watched live entertainment as the anticipation built. Let me tell you, there is no feeling quite like that.

The win was nice, of course, but the real beauty of the moment — the real win — was the sense of community we all shared.

“It’s pretty hard for me to put into words what it means to see all of you here together today,” said Mayor Sean McIntyre.

“As somebody who grew up in Sylvan Lake, seeing us all work together for one purpose seriously touches me so deeply. I’m so proud to stand among you as Sylvan Lakers. No matter what happens, we did this together.”

That’s what people across central Alberta will remember. That’s the true legacy of Sylvan Lake’s Hockeyville win.

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