Iqaluit signs up for Hockeyville promo

Application sent after last-minute decision

By GABRIEL ZARATE

Squeaking in just before Jan. 18 deadline, Iqaluit has thrown its collective hat into the ring to be this year’s Kraft Hockeyville.

Mayor Elisapee Sheutiapik, a self-described hockey mom and devotee, was enthusiastic in her support for Iqaluit’s submission to the contest.

“More and more people are reaching out. Let’s get the process started and our city submitted,” she told her staff on Friday, January 15.

City staff were already prepared with an essay and photos to submit.

Program and events coordinator Victoria Hann read the essay aloud, nearly bringing tears to the eyes of hockey mom Geraldine Penney:

“The passion for Hockey in Iqaluit brings the small town love of the game into the homes of every player and connects people across our great nation. Our community’s positive pride in hockey and our unwavering passion for this great game is what makes Iqaluit Canada’s next Kraft Hockeyville!”

Iqaluit is in for some tough competition. Hundreds of communities across Canada are taking part in the contest.

Some towns have submitted thousands of stories and pictures to the Kraft Hockeyville website.

As of Tuesday, Jan. 26 Iqaluit’s application included eight stories and 17 images.

Iqaluit isn’t the only Nunavut community to go in for Kraft Hockeyville 2010. Taloyoak, Sanikiluaq and Pond Inlet have also applied.

Taloyoak and Pond Inlet have submitted only a single story and photo each so far.

Despite the stiff competition, Sheutiapik was upbeat about Iqaluit’s chances.

She hoped people from other parts of Canada might vote in support of Iqaluit because of Iqaluit’s sportsmanship and energetic fan participation at the Bell Capital Cup in Ottawa.

“You know when our hockey team is playing,” she said with a laugh. “We’re the loudest!”

The rewards for willing the contest are considerable. The host arena gets $100,000 for upgrades, much needed for Iqaluit’s venerable Arnaitok Arena.

Despite the upcoming renovations to the Arctic Winter Games Arena, Arnaitok’s ice is still needed, especially when the AWG is occupied with a special event.

But just as important as the renovation cash is the other prize for Kraft Hockeyville. The winning community gets to host a pre-season game of NHL hockey.

“There’s people who will realistically never see a (NHL) game if it’s not here,” Mayor Sheutiapik said.

Sheutiapik called on Iqalummiut to submit their stories and photos to the Kraft Hockeyville website in support of Iqaluit.

The Top Twelve finalists will be decided before Feb. 11. Kraft Hockeyville’s audience voting for the winner is March 15-31.

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