Lumsden hopes Hockeyville votes will help fund new girls change room at arena
LUMSDEN, SASK. -- The Town of Lumsden is hoping to win the 2021 Kraft Hockeyville competition to fund improvements for a changing room at the local arena that will help girl's hockey teams.
The town was named one of the top four finalists in the annual competition.
In the 14-year history of the contest, no town in the province has won the top prize. Organizers of the bid said they have seen a lot of support from around Saskatchewan.
“The hype in Lumsden and the hype in the province for us, to me it’s been amazing,” Mayor of Lumsden Bryan Matheson said. “If that’s an indication, if we can get that support into votes and if voting counts, I think we have a great opportunity.”
“It’s just been a rollercoaster, but exciting, and getting out whole town to come together and surrounding communities come together, all of Saskatchewan is coming together. It’s been so exciting,” Lumsden Hockeyville bid organizer Jamie Lees said.
If they win the top prize, the plan is to help build a dressing room for the Lynx female hockey program. Currently, the rink only has four change rooms. The girls have a small room, but it’s a flight of stairs away from the ice and offers no amenities.
Lees said the grand prize would help cover the majority of costs to install a new dressing room.
“It’s hard to help the goalies down the stairs and hauling your gear up,” Lynx player Sage Johns said.
If Lumsden is not chosen as the grand prize winner, Matheson said the town will still pursue expanding the arena, but it would take a few years to raise the amount of money that is up for grabs.
According to one of the Lynx coaches, the program is one of the faster growing parts of the Lumsden hockey community. Since 2018, the rink has added four female minor hockey teams.
“It would be wonderful. The more that they feel included in the whole hockey program, the better it is for the rink and the whole community,” Lynx coach Dylan Johns said.
A makeshift room in the lobby using curtains has also been used. Sometimes the girls get access to the main floor rooms, but those have their own quirks.
“It’s not too different, it’s just, it smells like boys,” Sage Johns said.
Final voting runs from Friday, Apr. 9 at 7 a.m. to Saturday, Apr. 10 at 3 p.m. Lumsden, Saint Adolphe, Man., Bobcaygeon, Ont., and Elsipotog First Nation in New Brunswick are the four finalists. The winner receives $250,000 for arena upgrades and a chance to host an NHL preseason game.
Three runner-ups will receive $25,000 in upgrades and $10,000 for new equipment. The winner is expected to be announced on Sportsnet some time on Saturday night.
Votes can be cast at krafthockeyville.ca.