It's been three years since the province of Ontario has hosted Kraft Hockeyville, but the town of Dundas is inching closer to changing that fact.
With nearly 290,000 votes over a 12-day span last week, the small town was named one of the five finalists to host Kraft Hockeyville 2010, which will take place in September, during the NHL preseason. The province last hosted Kraft Hockeyville in 2007, when North Bay won the event, which featured a game between the New York Islanders
and Atlanta Thrashers
Dundas, which is home to fewer than 25,000 people, is located in the southeast section of Ontario, near the city of Hamilton. A victory would mean $100,000 in arena upgrades -- courtesy of Kraft -- for J.L. Grightmire Market Street Arena.
"Dundas is a beautiful town," Buffalo Sabres
forward Adam Mair
, a Hamilton native, said. "Any hockey player from the Hamilton area always had a tough game playing at Market Street Arena against the kids from Dundas growing up. The people there love their hockey, and deserve to be crowned Kraft Hockeyville."
By finishing in the top five, Dundas is at the very least guaranteed $25,000 from Kraft. But it's hard to imagine anyone in the area would be satisfied, especially when the event provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to host an NHL game.
How determined is Dundas to be named Kraft Hockeyville? So much so that a 24-hour voting center was set up in town and some residents have volunteered more than 150 hours in hope of victory.
"We need people next to their computers and phones Saturday night -- and voting their butts off," Barry Forth, one of the 'Gotta Be Dundas' organizers, told the Dundas Star News.
Mair isn't the only NHL player with Dundas roots. Dallas Stars
forward Krystofer Barch
, who was selected in the fourth round of the 1998 Entry Draft by the Washington Capitals
, also is a Hamilton native.
"Dundas played a huge role in me becoming the person and player that I am today," Barch said. "The rink has a great, small-town feel to it, and there was always great crowds cheering us on at games. I loved playing there and I think Dundas deserves to become Kraft Hockeyville for 2010."
Follow Brian Compton on Twitter at: BComptonNHL