Pense makes case for Kraft Hockeyville as voting opens
PENSE -- It was a macaroni mission for Kraft Hockeyville as Bevan Harlton, also known as ‘Noodle Boy’, walked 14 kilometres from Grand Coulee to Pense in an effort to rally support.
Pense, a community of 500, is one of four finalists for Kraft Hockeyville. It’s also the only finalist from Western Canada.
“This is a massive deal for us, we’re just so proud and so excited,” said Shauna Young, the town’s mayor.
The excitement comes as the voting window for the Canada-wide contest opened bright and early at 7 a.m. Friday, the same time Noodle Boy’s pasta-fuelled pilgrimage got underway.
Along his TransCanada Highway route, Harlton heard many honks and hollers from passing supporters.
“I was able to catch a lot of people’s eyes. And there’s a lot of big stares, a lot of big smiles, a lot of honking and waving,” said Harlton, whose noodle costume extends almost three feet above his head.
The town has already won $25,000 for rink upgrades and its minor hockey program for being named a finalist. But if Pense garners more votes than the other three communities, it will win $250,000.
“We have got an excellent administration and town council that know how to stretch a budget, but budgets only go so far,” Young said.
People can vote an unlimited amount of times before the contest closes at 4 p.m. Saturday.
“Personally I think I’ve cast probably 2,000 votes,” said Young.
Another resident of the farming community noted he’d already voted at least 6,000 times in the morning alone.
“If there is any place where you’ve got a connection back to Saskatchewan, I ask you just to dig deep, throw yourself online and cast a vote,” pleaded Young.
Area farmers even took the morning off to show Pense their support, combining security with support for Noodle Boy.
“Agriculture is the heart of this town and there are other industries around but farming is at the root of all things around here,” said Harlton.
The winner of Kraft Hockeyville will be named during Saturday night’s broadcast of Hockey Night in Canada.