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Southern Alberta town comes up short in Kraft Hockeyville bid

Despite their best efforts, Cochrane did not secure the title of Kraft Hockeyville, but congratulates Elliot Lake on their win.
Cochranites at the SLS Centre leading up to the announcement of the winner of Kraft Hockeyville.

The results are in, and despite the best efforts of the community, Cochrane did not take home the coveted title of Kraft Hockeyville, which was instead awarded to Elliot Lake.

Leading up to the announcement, CEO of the SLS Centre, Erin Wagner said she was nervous to hear the results, but outlined everyone in the community did their part to cast their ballots for Cochrane.

“Our community came alive and rallied behind a common purpose, which in this day and age, is super important,” Wagner said.

Mayor Jeff Genung, who also showed support for the cause shared his thoughts leading up to the major announcement. Although he waited in the utmost suspense for the results, he said he was so proud fo the efforts by the community.

“You can just feel the energy in this room,” Genung said as kids and parents alike could be heard shouting in the background. “The kids, all the parents, all the jerseys, and everyone cheering, it’s just a tense moment waiting for the announcement.”

After a longer than usual 20-minutes, the announcement was made following the first period of the match between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Buffalo Sabres.

The energy in the atrium of the SLS Centre reached critical levels, as more residents flowed in and showed their Cochrane fighting spirit. But shortly after everyone held their breath, the results were broadcast live to everyone in the building.

Elliot Lake would win this year’s title and be crowned the title of Kraft Hockeyville.

Despite this announcement, the SLS Centre erupted in applause as the community celebrated their efforts leading up to that moment.

Genung said it was a crushing blow that Cochrane didn’t win this year’s title, but outlined the best part of the day was still seeing the community out in support for the Old Barn.

“It’s so cool seeing all the kids and parents here, just cheering so hard for Cochrane,” he said. “You could just feel and taste it, the disappointment, but hats off to Elliot Lake.

Kudos to them for securing all the votes, but I’m just so proud about our community. We just came together over the last 10 days, rallying around such a cause, it’s such a great way to kick off Easter weekend.”

Although they didn’t win, he said Cochrane will return with a vengeance and a hunger to win the next Kraft Hockeyviile.

“Look out, Kraft Hockeyville, you better give it to us next year," Genung declared with a hearty laugh.

Wagner said that although they didn’t walk away with the title, they are still winners.

“At the end of the day we’re walking away winners with a huge community behind us, $25,000 for Cochrane Arena upgrades, as well as the $10,000 for minor hockey equipment,” she said. “You can’t ask for much more, and hats off to Elliot Lake.

“They put on one heck of a campaign and they got the votes they needed.”

Although Cochrane made the top four, the community has to wait 10 years before throwing their hat into the ring for the next title of Kraft Hockeyville. Regardless of the wait, Wagner said they will look for the next big thing and aim to bring it home to Cochrane.

Regardless of the outcome, she said she wouldn’t have changed anything along the way.

“The result is the result, but the community came together and that’s all we could ask for,” Wagner said.

A local at the event and U9 Cochrane Jets Hockey Coach, Mike Dennis, said it’s disappointing Cochrane didn’t walk away with the title, but acknowledges that the other communities are also in need of the upgrades as well.

“We’re happy for them, but it would’ve been nice to have the win here, in Cochrane,” he said.

As someone who played in Cochrane Minor Hockey at the Old Barn, he said it’s still the same place his kids currently play at. Although it could use the upgrades, he’s happy to see the community support the Cochrane Arena.

“The community rallying around this event to get a face lift on it was pretty neat to see,” Dennis said. “Any community event like this that brings the community together, whether you win or lose, is a fantastic thing.”

From the staff at the SLS Centre to the residents of Cochrane, Dennis said he takes his hat off to everyone involved in bringing the community together.

“It’s a great event and something that the town and the organizing committee should be very proud of, to even make it to the top four,” Dennis said.

Daniel Gonzalez

About the Author: Daniel Gonzalez

Daniel Gonzalez joined the Cochrane Eagle in 2022. He is a graduate of the Mount Royal University Journalism program. He has worked for the Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta and as a reporter in rural Alberta for the ECA Review.
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