Residents of Fernie were surprised Saturday night, when the final four communities of this year’s Kraft Hockeyville contest were announced and Fernie didn’t make the cut.
Streaming live at several locations around Fernie, locals sat eagerly awaiting the results which were announced on Hockey Night in Canada. One by one, communities were announced, starting in Western Canada.
The results read: High River, Alberta, home to Bob Snodgrass Recreation Centre. Next was Lafleche, SK., home to Lafleche Community Centre. In the East, the two towns nominated were Lucan Ont., home to Lucan Community Memorial Centre, and Huntingdon, QC., home to Aréna Régional Promotuel.
Many locals were bewildered as to why Fernie didn’t make it to the final four, one step closer to $250,000 in arena upgrades. Referring to the Krafthockeyville website, a quick count of the nominations showed that Fernie tallied at least 214 stories, 248 photos, and 486 messages in support of the town; more than all final four towns combined.
Fernie Mayor Mary Giuliano sat with several Fernie councillors and arena user group leaders at The Northern Bar and Stage, where Hockey night in Canada was being streamed.
“I am totally surprised at the outcome,” she said.
“I congratulate High River but I’m totally surprised that, with all of the support we got from three provinces, that we still didn’t make it because we obviously didn’t have enough nominations.”
In January, when it was announced Fernie would be running in the Krafthockeyville contest, it attracted support from other towns including Wilkie, Saskatchewan and Lumby, B.C.
“It’s disappointing of course,” she added. “I felt positive that Fernie would be one of the four.”
A comment from Kraft has been requested and a follow to this story will come at a later date.
To continue voting for the final four communities, visit Krafthockeyville.ca. Starting March 30, voting will open, and will remain open for just two days.
It is still unknown when the Fernie Memorial Arena will reopen, but the City of Fernie has said they hope to have it operational by the beginning of the 2018/19 season.