Only a few months after watching the town of Dundas, Ont., welcome the Ottawa Senators
and Buffalo Sabres
, the entire country of Canada is gearing up for Kraft Hockeyville 2011.
The five finalists were announced on CBC's "Hockey Night In Canada" on Saturday, as a handful of towns from across the hockey-crazed nation will now vie for the crown.
Here's a closer look at the finalists:
Conception Bay, Newfoundland
-- Located on the northeast coast on the island of Newfoundland, Conception Bay is home to roughly 24,000 people. Home to the 35-year-old Robert French Memorial Arena, the town of Conception Bay has more than 900 members in its minor-hockey association.
Saint Raymond, Quebec
-- Just 40 miles from Quebec City, the town of Saint Raymond is home to about 10,000 people. The folks there are hoping to be the second town in the province of Quebec to be crowned Kraft Hockeyville after Roberval won the award in 2008. A victory would not only mean the opportunity to host an NHL preseason game, but also upgrades for Arena St. Raymond.
Wolfe Island, Ontario
-- An island just 29 kilometers (about 18 miles) long, Wolfe Island's population is about 1,500. The passionate folks there are aiming to raise enough money to transform Wolfe Island Arena -- currently an outdoor rink -- into a facility that is suitable to host tournaments, and yes, an NHL preseason game.
-- Located about 28 kilometers (17 miles) from Red Deer, the town of Bentley is home to just over 1,100 people. The tiny town is hoping to upgrade 45-year-old Bentley Arena, which hosts the Bentley Generals hockey team.
Mackenzie, British Columbia
-- Two years after the small town of Terrace won the competition, the people of Mackenzie are hoping they're the next town in British Columbia to be crowned Kraft Hockeyville. They're also hoping for upgrades to Alan Sheppard Arena, which would host the event.
Voters can vote for their favorite community (regardless of region), online and/or by phone as follows:
-- Online at www.krafthockeyville.ca
From the homepage in the "Vote Now" box, select your favorite community from a drop-down box. Next, enter the verification information in the provided field. Click "submit", and/or; from any of the Top 5 community pages in the Vote for this Community box on the right side of the page enter the verification information in the provided field. Click "submit."
-- Via toll-free telephone 1-866-533-8066 and follow the automated voice prompts. The automated voice prompts will ask you to type in the two-digit code corresponding to the town you would like to vote for, then, ask you to type in the two-digit random code to confirm your vote.
Voters can vote for their favorite community only once per each click or call. Voting via web and phone is unlimited.
All eligible votes received online and by telephone will be accumulated. The community that receives the highest number of eligible votes during the voting period will be named Kraft Hockeyville 2011. The Grand Prize Community will be announced live on CBC's "Hockey Night in Canada" on April 2.
The top four remaining communities that are not selected Kraft Hockeyville 2011 will still get:
-- $25,000 from Kraft Canada dedicated to upgrading their home arena endorsed through your Kraft Hockeyville bid.
-- A CBC "Hockey Night in Canada" broadcast from their community.
For more information, visit www.krafthockeyville.ca.
Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL