The Stanley Cup might be the focus for a lot of hockey talk these days, but the people of Pense, Sask., are hoping to soon capture a prestigious hockey championship of their own.
Pense is one of four Canadian towns, and the only western Canadian one, vying for the “Kraft Hockeyville” title that goes along with the opportunity to host an NHL pre-season game and $250,000 cash for their local arena.
“Our province produces the most NHL players per capita and even Mr. Hockey (Gordie Howe) himself is from Saskatchewan. We feel it is our time,” said Curtis Lax, one of the bid organizers in an email to The Western Producer. “It’s crazy to think that the province that produced Mr. Hockey has yet to get a Hockeyville distinction.”
In the 14-year history of the Hockeyville competition no Saskatchewan (or Manitoba) town has won the title. Organizers of the Pense bid are hopeful this year will be different.
Pense made the cut to the final four communities hoping to win the prize along with Twillingate, N.L., Saint Félicien, Que., and Tyne Valley, P.E.I.
Each of the three runners-up will take home $25,000 for arena upgrades, but the folks in Pense are hoping their shot nets a little more.
“The prairie provinces have a history of always being the bridesmaid and never the bride when it comes to the Hockeyville competition,” said Lax. “(A win) would mean a lot to other small prairie towns knowing the possibility if we could pave the way.”
— Pense, SK for Kraft Hockeyville 2020 (@pensehockey) August 9, 2020
Voting to determine the winning community begins Aug. 14 at 7 a.m. CST, and runs until 4 p.m. Aug. 15.
Votes can be cast on the Kraft Hockeyville website, www.krafthockeyville.ca.