Friendly Manitoba is gearing up for a friendly competition between some of this province's finest towns who are vying to host the 2020 Winnipeg Jets Town Takeover. What started with 16 towns that entered a video submission to the Jets has been narrowed down to just three finalists: Beausejour, Dominion City, and Stonewall. Now it's time for Manitobans to VOTE for their favourite finalist town!
This may be the second year of the Town Takeover event, but it's the first time that the host city is being decided by the fans. What better way to settle a contest that focuses on community than by leaving it up to the people of Manitoba to vote on three towns that show plenty of community spirit?
In most of rural Manitoba, the words "community" and "hockey" are virtually synonymous, and that's certainly the case in Beausejour, Dominion City, and Stonewall.
Ray Schirle, the mayor of Beausejour, noted just how much of a focus hockey is in the town northeast of Winnipeg.
"We're a very hockey-oriented town," Schirle said. "From our kids right to our adults, there is so much involvement in hockey. On top of that, Beausejour is so community-minded as well. Everything we do is driven by our volunteer base and our proud community.
"That came through in our submission video, where we made a call out to people from the community to come to the rink with their Jets jerseys. There were more Jets jerseys than you can shake a stick at."
Hockey rinks aren't just important to these towns because of sport though. The hockey rinks in the three finalist towns, like many others in Manitoba, are truly their community's gathering spot.
"The rink has been a really important place for people to gather in our community," said Jennifer Collette, who helped put together the application for Dominion City, located just over an hour south of Winnipeg. "It gathers people from young and old to celebrate our community.
"Having a Jets party would just bring everybody together and would create some community spirit that we already have, but it would just amp it up to the next level."
For Stonewall, even the application process for the Town Takeover was a community building event.
"The application was really driven by the community," noted Laine Wilson (though spelled like Jets superstar Patrik Laine's last name, it's pronounced Lane). "People are really supportive, and we wanted to highlight that. There's a big hockey spirit here, and everybody takes a lot of pride in that.
"This is a powerful event to support hockey in general, but also the spirit of a community and how connected everyone can be."
That's exactly what the Jets Community Relations department had in mind when they created the event a year ago, and they know that will carry on this year, no matter which town is hosting.
"This event really is all about the community spirit of rural Manitoba," said Barrett Paulsen, Director of Community Relations for True North Sports + Entertainment. "The Jets are Manitoba's team, and we're fortunate to be surrounded by such a passionate community of fans in this province. Morris was a great example of that last year, and we know that this year's winner will again raise the bar for Jets fandom and community pride."
To watch the video submissions and cast your vote for Beausejour, Dominion City, or Stonewall in the 2020 Winnipeg Jets Town Takeover contest, please visit WinnipegJets.com/JetsTownTakeover.
To see a recap of the 2019 Winnipeg Jets Town Takeover in Morris, Man., click HERE.