Swift Current anxiously awaiting next round of Kraft Hockeyville vote

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Swift Current enters 2014 Kraft Hockeyville competition

After a fast and furious opening round of voting, Swift Current residents are collectively holding their breath in hopes of reaching the second round of voting in the 2014 Kraft Hockeyville competition.

Swift Current was selected as one of the top 16 entries in the Kraft Hockeyville contest and was the lone Saskatchewan entry in the Western bracket with three BC communities, three Alberta locations, and one Manitoba town. After a furious window of on-line and phone voting from 9 p.m. on Saturday to midnight on Monday, the entire City of Swift Current is hoping they generated enough votes to move forward to the Top 4 round.

While already assured $25,000 in arena upgrade funding, Swift Current is anxiously awaiting to hear if the community reached the top two in each bracket in order to receive $50,000 in arena upgrades. However, the ultimate goal is to be the grand prize winner of $100,000 in arena upgrades along with hosting a 2014-2015 NHL pre-season game and a visit from CBC.

Swift Current is trying to become the first Saskatchewan community to win the national contest.

“We know that Saskatchewan has the most incredible fans on the planet,” Mayor Jerrod Schafer said. "We’re counting on that prairie pride to put us over the top and bring the title of Hockeyville to Saskatchewan, where it truly belongs”.

Swift Current submitted an essay entitled "100 Years of Hockey...A Story of Love, Loss and Lasting Legacy" which assisted their push to reach the Round of 16. Designed to show both Swift Current's community spirit and passion for hockey, the submission story highlights that the Hockeyville designation would be a perfect tie in with Swift Current's centennial year.

"A hundred years and millions of face offs later, hockey is part of the very air we breathe here. Our kids grow up with hockey heroes and dreams of the NHL and Olympic gold and despite being the smallest market in the entire CHL. Our beloved Broncos continue to thrive and attract top prospects because long drives can’t change the fact that Swift Current and successful hockey are no strangers. And we think we have the alumni to prove it. And the provincial Hockey Hall of Fame.

"We also have the scars.  

"On December 30th, 1986, our community was shattered when we lost four members of our Broncos in a tragic bus crash on the TransCanada Highway. Trent Kresse, Scott Kruger, Chris Mantyka and Brent Ruff (younger brother of Lindy Ruff) were part of our hockey family and they are remembered every time a player puts on a Bronco jersey. The memorial patches players wear with pride and purpose even now, 27 years later, keep their spirit and their memory alive."

The submission notes a long overdue memorial is planned to enshrine the memories of those four exceptional young men.

Swift Current also plans to use the arena upgrade funding to redesign the boards and benches in order to add sledge hockey to the range of activities offered at the iPlex.

"We’re going to donate the balance to local programs that will guarantee that any child in Swift Current that wants to play hockey will be able to play hockey and that their future in the game will be based solely on their love of the game and the strength of their character and not the size of their bank account. In this, the start of our next 100 years, we can’t think of a better way to remember those we lost and to give something back to the game that means so, so much to our community," the entry essay states.

Individuals wanting to support the Swift Current bid do not have to wait for the announcement of the Final Four, as people can sign up as a supporter of Swift Current at krafthockeyville.cbc.ca

Organizations: Kraft Hockeyville, NHL

Geographic location: Swift Current, Saskatchewan, Hockeyville

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