Enderby’s Kraft Hockeyville momentum catches Vancouver Canucks

Vancouver alum Kirk McLean and mascot Fin visit Enderby Arena
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Vancouver Canucks mascot Fin hoists the Vote Enderby sign, as the mascot and former goaltender Kirk McLean paid a visit to Enderby Arena, in preparation for Kraft Hockeyville voting on Friday, March 29. (Bowen Assman - Morning Star)

Momentum and anticipation has reached a fever pitch in Enderby for Kraft Hockeyville.

The community is one of four in the running for $250,000 in arena upgrades and an NHL preseason game.

The NHL’s Vancouver Canucks caught wind of Enderby’s chances and brought former goaltender Kirk McLean and beloved mascot Fin to the Arena on Wednesday, March 27.

“We were just so excited,” said Enderby Mayor Huck Galbraith. “We heard about the Canucks bringing some folks here late on Tuesday and we were able to wrangle some minor hockey players here.”

The Enderby Arena was shut down for the season in early January after a refrigeration issue. It’s impact is far-reaching.

“We have 250 players so we run multiple practices weekly,” said Tracy Berrecloth, vice-president of the North Okanagan Minor Hockey Association. “With the arena closing in January we lost five tournaments which is a big revenue generator not only for our team but for our association as we are a non-profit.”

In addition to minor hockey, the local high school’s skills academy program was shut down for the season, along with the adjacent curling club.

“During the winter time, one of the funnest things to do is to go skating,” said Aaron Leon, president of Splatsin Tsm7aksaltn, a First Nations band that utilizes the arena. “I have little kids of my own and I wanted to get them skating this year, but we can’t as we have no arena so that’s why it is crucial we win.”

The win will be determined by public votes, which open at 6 a.m. on Friday, March 29 until Saturday, March 30 at 2 p.m. The 32-hour voting window gives everyone the opportunity to vote as many times as you can.

“Bragging rights are always great,” said Berrecloth, when asked on what it would mean to win the contest. “But, the funds to improve the arena would be fantastic for the community.”

McLean, who is an ambassador for the Vancouver Canucks, pledged his vote for Enderby.

“Of course I’ll be voting for them,” he told The Morning Star. “The Canucks are very proud to come out and try and do as much as possible to make Enderby win.

“Enderby is a hockey town, the surrounding communities are a hockey town and they are all Vancouver Canucks fans,” joked McLean. “We are the NHL team that runs the province and the community supports us, so we can get up and do this kind of stuff is a no-brainer at the end of the day.”

Voting parties will take place on Friday, hosted at the Splatsin Tsm7aksaltn Childcare Centre, Work BC Building and Enderby Legion.

The winner will be announced Saturday at approximately 4:30 p.m. at the first intermission of the CBC-broadcasted NHL game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres.

Visit hockeyville.kraftcanada.ca to vote.

READ MORE: Enderby readies its sticks for Kraft Hockeyville voting

READ MORE: Enderby named Kraft Hockeyville finalist



Bowen Assman

About the Author: Bowen Assman

I joined The Morning Star team in January 2023 as a reporter. Before that, I spent 10 months covering sports in Kelowna.
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