Princeton is a finalist in the national Kraft Hockeyville contest, giving the town a one-in-four chance of winning $250,000 and the thrill of hosting an NHL game.
“I’m really excited,” said Mayor Spencer Coyne. “I believe if we come together as a community, and we really push for this and we really want it, I think as a community we can win this.”
The finalists were announced Saturday April 23, and Princeton is facing off against Sydney Nova Scotia, Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu Quebec and Douro-Dummer Ontario.
Online voting to determine the winner will take place beginning Friday, May 6 at 9 a.m. and ending Saturday, May 7 at 5 p.m.
Should the town ultimately be successful the money awarded will go to replacing the roof at the Princeton and District Arena on Old Hedley Road, Coyne said. The roof is now partially covered with tarps.
A nomination was created on the Kraft Hockeyville website, and 126 supporters uploaded photos and testimonials to the page.
While Princeton has always entered phase one of the annual competition, it traditionally received about a dozen supporting submissions, said Coyne.
“This year we were a little more organized.”
Coyne credits the success of the 2022 campaign to Sean McHaffie, owner of Frannies Coffee.
“I grew up in Princeton and I grew up in that arena. I played hockey there until I graduated high school. My sister figure skated. I remember Mom and Dad going to the arena for casino nights put on by Rotary. Grad events were held there,” McHaffie told the Spotlight after he initiated the nomination.
“My kids now play hockey. Thomas is nine and Sophie is seven. Sophie is on an all girls team. It’s so nice to see the sport grow,” he added.
“If we could win the $250,000 and fix the roof, it would allow the town to spend capital improvements inside the arena. The Zamboni could be replaced with a new electric Zamboni, for instance. I’d also like to see some nicer elements for the Posse players.”
Princeton’s five year financial plan, recently passed by town council, includes projects – dependent on provincial grant applications – to purchase a new ice cleaning machine and also to install solar panels.
Many of the local submissions to the website referenced the devastation of the November 2021 flood, stating that Princeton deserves the prize and is in great need of the dollars as it rebuilds its neighbourhoods.
Princeton’s mayor was recently honoured by the Vancouver Canucks organization at a special game dedicated to community heroes.
The three runners up in the contest each receive $25,000 for arena upgrades.
“I hope that everybody gets involved and gets online and sends it out to everyone on their contact lists,” said Coyne.
The town is home of Kootenay International Junior Hockey League team The Princeton Posse, enjoys a robust minor hockey program and many recreational hockey leagues and events.
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