Small town hockey led Brent Gilchrist and Eric Godard to the big leagues and now they want Lumby to shine.
The former professional hockey players, are voting today and Monday for Lumby’s Kraft Hockeyville bid and $100,000 in upgrades for Pat Duke Memorial Arena.
“It would be a great achievement for the community,” said Gilchrist, who played for the Montreal Canadiens, Edmonton Oilers, Minnesota North Stars, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings and Nashville Predators.
Lumby is among 10 communities seeking the Hockeyville title and voting starts today at 6 a.m. and ends Monday at 9 p.m. to decide the two finalists. You can cast your ballot at http://khv2016.ca/
“I loved playing in Lumby’s rink. It was always fun because it felt like the whole town was there to support their team! You could always count on an excited crowd to get you going,” said Godard, a Vernon native who played for the New York Islanders, Calgary Flames and Pittsburgh Penguins.
“The way the cheers would echo in the barn is something I won’t forget. It’s what I think of when I think of that rink.”
Gilchrist has similar memories.
“Growing up in Vernon, I spent a lot of time on the ice in Lumby and it could use some upgrades. Both of my boys also spent time there playing while growing up,” said Gilchrist.
The ultimate winning community will receive an NHL pre-season game and $100,000 in arena upgrades. Second prize is $100,000 in arena upgrades, while the remaining eight arenas each will get $25,000 in arena upgrades.
Beyond the hockey fraternity, Lumby has garnered support from all local mayors, as well as Mel Arnold, North Okanagan-Shuswap MP.
“Since Lumby is the only B.C. town now in the running I encourage folks from all over the Okanagan and B.C. to support this great opportunity for the Pat Duke Memorial Arena, the community of Lumby and everyone who enjoys Lumby’s arena,” said Arnold.
Eric Foster, Vernon-Monashee MLA, stood up in the B.C. Legislature Thursday to promote Lumby.
“I have members on all sides of the House getting the information to vote from me,” he said, adding that he will expand his efforts Monday.
“I will do an e-mail blast to everyone in the building.”
People can vote as many times as they want at http://khv2016.ca/
To encourage people to vote, there will be a tailgate party and road hockey game at Lumby’s Arbour Park today at 9 a.m.
People can also vote at the Lumby Chamber of Commerce office from 6 a.m. Sunday to 9 p.m. Monday.
“We challenge all businesses in the region to help us get the most votes. Your support is critical and it will make a difference,” said Stephanie Sexsmith, chamber executive director, in an e-mail to North Okanagan businesses.
“Do your part for the entire province and our region and take to the computer and vote as often as you can. This is the time to help rally support for our kids and our community.”
Voting will also be accessible at the Downtown Internet Lounge in Vernon.