Published on March 16, 2014
Dave MacDonald, Lynda Schurman, Brian and Marlene Rogers take a seat at the Bedeque and Area Recreation Centre to cast their Kraft Hockeyville votes. After moving on to the final four, they are confident Bedeque can be number one.
TC Media photo by Ryan Cooke
Published on March 10, 2014
David MacDonald, a member of the Bedeque Area Recreation Centre’s board of directors, with one of the many signs that have popped up showing support for Central Bedeque’s bid to become Canada’s newest Hockeyville. Colin MacLean/Journal Pioneer
BEDEQUE – With the clock ticking past midnight, and a long day of hockey behind them, dedicated supporters of Bedeque’s bid for Hockeyville still gathered around the Bedeque Recreation Centre to hear the announcement they’d been anxiously awaiting.
Despite being tired out from a long day, and a long week of voting and waiting, it didn’t matter. They got the result they wanted.
The Bedeque and Area Recreation Centre had moved on to the final four of Kraft Hockeyville, guaranteeing them $50,000 in arena upgrades, including the $25,000 for making the top 16.
It was a result that Dave MacDonald, a driving force behind Bedeque’s bid, could have only dreamed of when he started the campaign in January.
“Never,” he said, when asked if he had imagined this outcome. “We never thought in our wildest dreams we would have made it this far.”
While he didn’t imagine it would come through, he and the rest of the volunteer staff at the arena kept their hopes high. They worked tirelessly through the two-day voting period last week, pounding out vote after vote.
It’s no surprise, however, coming from a group of dedicated volunteers who have made the arena their second home all winter.
After learning the rink doors weren’t opening in October, a group of volunteers assembled to run it themselves. Putting together a staff without any money backing them, they managed to make it through the winter on the selfless efforts of the community.
Now, they’ve applied the same work ethic to their Hockeyville bid, except the support has gone far beyond the group of volunteer staff.
“It’s been amazing,” MacDonald said. “The support we have received from all over the Island is exceptional. It’s really an amazing case of Islanders helping Islanders.”
While Kraft did not release the final tally of votes, MacDonald said some voters tried to keep a tally of their own ballots cast. One couple averaged out how many votes they could cast per minute, and applied it to the time they were voting. The result? Over 5,000 votes apiece.
“Some people say the voting is kind of addicting,” MacDonald chuckled. “You get in the zone and you don’t even realize how much time has passed.”
“The City of Summerside has come on board and they’ve just been fantastic,” MacDonald said.
Credit Union Place will have voting booths set up all day Monday for people to come and cast their votes for Bedeque. It has also announced a competition, wherein people can video themselves voting rapidly. The entrant with the most votes in one minute wins two tickets to the finals of the Grand Slam of Curling in Summerside on April 20.
Advancing to the top four guarantees the arena money it desperately needs, as it has been running on an ice plant old enough to collect a Canada Pension. The 65-year-old plant, purchased secondhand from Summerside in 1973, is running on one of two condensers, and a failing brine pump. Both are vital parts of the plant.
MacDonald said the money would go not only towards the plant, but also to “pretty the place up a bit.”
On Sunday afternoon, barely 12 hours after the announcement of the top four, the arena was buzzing again. With a rec hockey tournament going throughout the weekend, the voting room was set up again at the rink. With three laptops and a tablet plugged in, people dropped by intermittently and spent time voting as quickly as they could.
The support the arena has received has been overwhelming, MacDonald said.
“We’ve really got to thank not just the community of Bedeque, but the entire Island. It’s just been amazing.”
Bedeque will now go up against Kingston, N.S., in the eastern bracket for a spot in the final, and $100,000 in funding. In the west, Salmon Arm, B.C. ,and Sylvan Lake, Alta., advanced to the final four. The overall winner will receive the money, plus an NHL preseason game in the fall.
The second round of voting began after midnight Saturday, immediately after the announcement, and will run until 12:59 a.m. local time on Tuesday. Voting can be done at www.krafthockeyville.cbc.ca. There is an unlimited number of votes-per-person.