Many are voting for the Fernie Memorial Arena in the Kraft Hockeyville competition, which gives one community $250,000 in arena upgrades. They say this would help fund a cooling plant for a new covered, all-season arena. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Locals nominating Fernie Memorial Arena to win $250,000 in upgrades

Kraft Hockeyville competition allows Canadians to vote for which arena deserves $250,000 in upgrades

The Kraft Hockeyville competition is officially open, which means that communities across Canada have a chance to nominate their town to recieve $250,000 in arena upgrades, as well as a pre-season NHL game.

This year, four finalist communities will be selected, two from the East, and two from the West. Those who place second, third and fourth will be awarded $25,000 each in arena upgrades.

So far, many from around Fernie have voiced their support in nominating the Fernie Memorial Arena to receive these funds. Ever since the ammonia disaster in October, Fernie has been without a covered all-season hockey arena.

“As you all know, Fernie is still going through an enormous tragedy with the recent disaster at the Fernie Memorial arena. We have an opportunity to bring Fernie back the arena they have lost due to this disaster with Kraft’s Hockeyville contest,” said Kootenay-East MLA Tom Shypitka.

Those entering the competition are asked to answer three questions: How would you describe your community’s spirit as well as its passion for hockey? What arena project would most benefit from the prize money? And why should your community be the next Kraft Hockeyville?

So far the answers have come in great number; 33 stories have already been submitted, along with 44 notes and 37 pictures.

“The town needs to replace the cooling system in the arena with a new ammonia-free one so they can open their arena back up and start hosting events again,” read a submission.

“Three lives were lost when there was an ammonia leak in the arena. Being able to open a new arena would bring a bit of much-needed happiness back into their lives and help them to move forward,” read another submission.

To cast your vote, visit Krafthockeyville.ca. The polls will be open until midnight on February 11.

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