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Enderby comes up short in Kraft Hockeyville bid

A full crowd at the Enderby Area watched as Elliot Lake, ON, was announced as this year’s Kraft Hockeyville winner

The Enderby Arena was packed with people waiting with bated breath to see if the community would be named the winner of Kraft Hockeyville 2024 on Saturday, and while the results didn’t go the city’s way, the excitement at the watch party event at the rink was a testament to how well the community can pull together.

Enderby was competing with three other Canadian cities for a shot at $250,000 for arena upgrades and the chance to host a National Hockey League pre-season game.

After a 32-hour period of public voting, Elliot Lake, ON., was announced the winner of Hockeyville during the Hockey Night in Canada broadcast.

Enderby Mayor Huck Galbraith was disappointed but still brimming with community spirit after the announcement.

“It’s heartbreaking for sure, obviously the Ontario rink needed some help as well,” Galbraith said. “It’s tough to believe that we didn’t win it with all the support that we had, not just locally in our community but neighbouring communities as well.”

Despite the result, Galbraith said it was “beautiful” to see how the community rallied around the contest.

“The community has always been special,” he said. “A lot of people went over and above (to encourage people to vote). It just felt like a big huge family.”

Enderby was named a Hockeyville finalist just days after the city’s only rink shut down midway through the season due to a refrigeration system failure. The closure, which also shut down the attached curling rink, has impacted a myriad of groups, including the North Okanagan Minor Hockey Association.

But Galbraith said every effort will be made to fix the rink and reopen it by the fall.

“It’s an integral part of the entire community, Splatsin, neighbouring communities — we all rely on this facility for many things. We’ll get it up and running, I have no doubt. One way or another the community will do whatever it takes to make it happen.”

Galbraith said just five minutes after the city learned it hadn’t won the Hockeyville contest, he already had people coming up to him to talk about potential fundraising efforts for the rink.

Angie Clowry was a team leader for Lumby back when the nearby village won Hockeyville in 2016. She was at the watch party at the Enderby rink and said the Lumby community showed up in a big way for Enderby throughout the contest.

“It’s a real community builder,” she said of Hockeyville.

“Hopefully we’re going to put together a fundraiser over the next little bit and raise some money for Enderby, because they definitely need to get their ice rink up and running for next season,” she added.

As a finalist in Hockeyville, Enderby will receive $25,000 in arena upgrades.

It was a fun day for those who attended the watch party. Before the announcement, kids were playing road hockey in front of the rink, and a Zamboni was stationed near the front entrance for kids to get behind the wheel. A number of people brought signs and wore hockey jerseys at the event.

READ MORE: Hockeyville voting underway as Enderby looks to win crucial arena funds

READ MORE: Enderby’s Kraft Hockeyville momentum catches Vancouver Canucks

Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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