Pulling out all the stops for Hockeyville

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LCCVI students play some air hockey at the Greenwood Recreation Centre Tuesday in an event leading up to the announcement on whether Petrolia will get to vie for the title of Hockeyville.

Nick Salaris is hoping Petrolia will show its hockey spirit this weekend as the Petrolia Minor Hockey Association waits to find out if the town will vie for the title of Hockeytown.

The president of the PMHA says the group is one of 3,200 communities in the contest run by Kraft which could see the town win $100,000 to improve the Greenwood Recreation Centre. Saturday the company will unveil the 10 communities which will be in the social media voting March 13 and 14.

Area business and service clubs are already supporting the bid, decorating storefronts with hockey memorabilia.

Now the PMHA is organizing a number events to help boost awareness about the contest in the hopes of getting more people to vote for Petrolia in what the group is calling Hockey Spirit Weekend.

It will start off with a walking parade which starts from the Greenwood Recreation Centre at 1:15pm Saturday. Hockey fans will walk up Huggard, east on Jennie down to Maude Street and west to Dufferin and back to the arena.

Salaris says throughout the weekend children will find things to do at Greenwood including a “Kraft” room where they can create a poster in support of Petrolia’s bid. The arena is already covered in support posters and all kinds of boxes of Kraft products.

There will also be a Kraft Chef Cooking contest. Salaris says would-be chefs can register either their sweet treats or tasty meals using Kraft products at noon at the arena for judging by celebrity judges at 12:30 pm.

All the celebrations lead up to the announcement by the company on who will compete for the Hockeyville title at 7pm Saturday and then stay for the Petrolia Squires playoff game. Salaris says the PMHA is hoping to “fill this lobby up, anticipating a good result…and then use social media to stream all this stuff out.”

That’s been one of the challenges of the PMHA’s bid to become Hockeyville. The contest is centered around social media use and, until now, PMHA used its website to communicate with parents. “Twitter and Facebook were things we talked about implementing a couple years now…it was just difficult to find a way to manage it,” says Salaris saying the organization wanted to make sure it maintained “a level of decorum” on the site.

But the hockey association has now joined social media to actively promote Hockeyville.

Salaris hopes it all pays off. He says the $100,000 top prize would go a long way to improving the Greenwood Recreation Centre. “I don’t see new arena in Petrolia in the immediate future, so we need to make sure what we have here is safe and current.

“If we can do the leg work and help the town out and doing that, then we will.”

Salaris adds when people are posting hockey photos they should promote the contest using #khv_petrolia2016 to increase the town’s chances of winning.