Hockeyville loss has silver lining for Pense

They may not have won their bid for the Hockeyville 2020 title, but the town of Pense, Sask., has raised its profile, and that of its arena, across Canada. | Twitter/@PenseHockey photo

The winner of this year’s Kraft Hockeyville competition was announced over the weekend, and unfortunately the Sask. town of Pense’s shot missed the net, so to speak.

However, Saskatchewan-born former Dragon, and philanthropist W. Brett Wilson has picked up the rebound and the town of Pense appears set to score after all.

In a tweet sent Sunday morning Wilson offers to match the $25,000 the town picks up from Kraft as a runner-up, and he’s prompted some of his fellow Sask. business people to do likewise.

“My #SK homeland folks in @PenseHockey didn’t get votes needed to win @KRAFT @Hockeyville – but they are the real deal,” Wilson tweeted Sunday morning. “I will match the $25k they did receive & encourage a few of my homeland heroes to either RT or step in to support.”

Wilson tagged former Sask. premier Brad Wall, real estate developer Craig Lothian, and Saskatoon-based investor Greg Yuel in his tweet.

The news made for a bit of a rollercoaster weekend for the team in Pense organizing the Hockeyville bid.

“I was just about to leave the house Sunday morning to go clean up the rink – we were hoping there was going to be a bit of a celebration there Saturday night,” said Graeme Crosbie, one of the 10-member Pense rink board working on the Hockeyville bid. “A friend sent me a text with a screenshot of Brett Wilson’s tweet – it was a bit of a shock.”

Crosbie says the good news of Wilson’s offer Sunday morning left him feeling emotional following the shock of the loss Saturday night.

“Our team, this community did everything we could, we thought we had this thing,” recalled Crosbie after they learned Twillingate, NL had won. “This is such a generous offer, we definitely appreciate (Wilson’s) support.”

Crosbie says the generosity hasn’t stopped there. The Hockeyville competition has raised the profile of the small prairie town, and its arena, just 20 km west of Regina.

“We’ve gotten a lot of messages from across the country from people asking to donate,” said Crosbie. “So we’re working with the town to see how we can facilitate that – we’d be foolish to turn down all these offers of support.

“It’s hard to say if we would do it again, it was a lot of fun but it was a lot of hard work, too.”

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