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Help turn Moose Jaw into Hockeyville

Pla-Mor Palace nominated for improvements as part of Hockeyville contest

If the Moose Jaw Minor Hockey Association has things turn out as well as they hope, Moose Jaw will soon have another nickname – Hockeyville.

The local organization is one of the dozens of individuals and groups that have submitted nominations for the prestigious contest, which sees $250,000 awarded to the winner for rink improvements as well as a National Hockey League pre-season game played in the community.

That's where local minor hockey supporters come in – while 80 per cent of the final winning score comes from the 'community story' that acts as the nomination, another 20 per cent is added through 'rally activity,' which tracks the social media following of each post. 

As such, as many likes, shares and tweets as possible are needed to push Moose Jaw into the top four finalists, with the potential winnings going toward a wide range of improvements at the Pla-Mor Palace.

“One of our directors, Chris Flanagan, put in the nomination for us and it's something we want to try and use to our advantage,” said minor hockey president Patrick Boyle. “Pla-Mor Palace and the Bert Hunt and Wally B had a pretty long history here in Moose Jaw, with Bert Hunt creating the first Initiation program and running it from there. If we were to win the $250,000, it would go a long way and we could leverage it with the city's budget and have it help out there.”

The improvements would largely centre around expanding the current dressing room capacity at the two rinks to accommodate the rapidly growing female hockey division,

“And there are certain other small things that could be done with the coaches benches and other things in general, like digitizing the rink,” Boyle explained. “We still have chalkboards saying who is playing where, so we're falling behind in some respects compared to other parts of the country.

“Things have to get weighed against other stuff, but if kids don't have things to do and don't have recreational facilities, you have a bigger problem,” he added “So I think it's a wise investment and from our end trying to leverage that would go a long way.”

Then there's the NHL game, which brings a bit of a quandry – past winners have generally played the game in the rink that's slated for upgrades, which would put the contest in one of a lower-capacity arena, as opposed to Mosaic Place.

“I think we'd get into discussions to see where that would happen, but the Wally B would be a packed house, that's for sure,” Boyle said with a laugh.

As with any national level contest, Moose Jaw will be up against some stiff competition. But as the One Horse Town contest proved, when Moose Javians flock to social media in support of a cause, anything can happen.

“You miss 100 per cent of the shots you don't take so we're trying to get the word out and like and share and move that post along to see what activity we can generate,” Boyle said. “We'll do our best and you never know. We're hopeful.”

Arena nominations take place through Feb. 10, with judging beginning Feb. 11. The top four finalists will be announced Mar. 16, with final-round voting running for 20 1/2 hours beginning at 12 p.m. on Mar. 29. The winner will be announced Mar. 30.

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