The Village of Lumby went crazy Saturday (Apr 2) afternoon.
The roar of jubilation from the crowd shook the rafters of the Pat Duke Memorial Arena as NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced on national television that Lumby had won the Kraft Hockeyville 2016 title.
In addition to $100,000 for upgrades to the arena, the village will also host an NHL pre-season game.
Local organizer Angie Clowry, the driving force behind efforts to push Lumby to the top of the contest, said she is not certain if the game will be played in the local arena or a nearby community.
An NHL committee will visit the area to make a decision in the coming weeks, said Clowry.
The second-place finisher, St. Isidore, Que, also wins $100,000 for arena upgrades but no game.
Ahead of the announcement, villagers partied beside the arena, listening to a rock band, dancing and picnicking, while children jumped on a number of bouncy castles and clambered over local fire trucks.
“I feel like we’ve already won,” said Clowry, just ahead of the announcement. “The community spirit and just getting everyone together for a common, positive goal, it’s been fantastic.”
Clowry had teams of local people voting online day and night for the village during that stage of the process, urging other communities to take part.
Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster made an appeal for support in the Legislature.
Mayor Kevin Acton lifted the Hockeyville trophy high after the announcement, joined by other regional politicians including Foster and Rick Fairbairn, chair of the North Okanagan Regional District board.
“The amount of excitement and cohesion (the contest) has generated, not just in Lumby but the region surrounding it, and even Armstrong and Enderby, Vernon and Kelowna, it’s been amazing,” said Acton. “It’s kind of hard to fathom the amount of support that’s been given by everybody.”