Residents urged to show support for Hassen Arena

The city known for cheese and agriculture takes on a town that hosts a legendary brewery.

The city known for cheese and agriculture takes on a town that hosts a legendary brewery.

It’s Armstrong versus Creston, where Kokanee Beer is made, for the right to host the B.C. leg of the Kraft Celebration Tour and a chance for the community to win $25,000 and have TSN broadcast its Sportscentre show live from the community.

The two communities were named finalists July 1 and will face-off against each other in a one-day, online voting contest Monday to see who wins.

“It’s really exciting,” said Armstrong Coun. Ryan Nitchie.

“We have only one week to win $25,000 and have TSN visit our community.”

Armstrong would use the money to upgrade the aging Hassen Arena. Creston wants the cash to fix up its community centre.

“It’s a great opportunity for our town to get some money to renovate the old Hassen Arena,” said Nitchie.

Nitchie is asking for 15 minutes of North Okanagan residents’ time on Monday. Voting runs from 9 a.m. Monday to 8:59:59 a.m. Tuesday. The community with the most votes will be announced on Tuesday night’s TSN Sportscentre broadcast.

“We’re looking at it as 15 minutes of your time for Hassen,” said Nitchie. “You can repeat vote. When you vote online, you can vote as many times in 24 hours as your mouse finger will let you.”

The Armstrong Kraft Celebration Tour committee hopes to set up a computer bank  Monday, and it is looking for volunteers to help with voting. The location of the bank will be announced ASAP, on Armstrong’s Kraft Celebration Tour Facebook page.

“We’re trying to fill time slots with organizations, groups, anybody who can come out and do some online voting for us at a computer bank,” said Nitchie.

Anybody who would like to volunteer can phone Nitchie at 250-546-3726 or e-mail him at

Originally built in the 1950s as a show hall for the annual Interior Provincial Exhibition, Hassen Arena was converted for sports use shortly after.

Hassen Arena was decommissioned as an ice facility in 2005 after Nor-Val Sports Centre was built. Hassen is still used for lacrosse, roller derby and the IPE.

“We have a very unique facility in the North Okanagan that is used regionally by users for all sports and activities, and it really needs some cosmetic upgrades as well as some substantial infrastructure upgrades,” said Nitchie.

Armstrong Mayor Chris Pieper has wagered 10 cases of Okanagan Spring 1516 beer against Creston Mayor Ron Toyota, who has offered up 10 cases of Kokanee Beer.

With the help of Askew’s Foods and the Armstrong-Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce, Armstrong’s nomination garnered more than 700 supporters during the nomination period. That helped impress the judges and helped secure a top-20 spot.

To vote for Armstrong on Monday, go to