O'Leary celebrates making Hockeyville finals, then gets down to business

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O'Leary celebrates making Hockeyville finals, then gets down to business

Residents of O'Leary, P.E.I., took some time to celebrate Saturday night after the town was named one of two finalists in the Kraft Hockeyville 2017 competition.

And on Sunday, they got down to business.

Voting for the top spot began at 10 a.m. and closes just before 1 a.m. Tuesday, March 21. Residents were voting in shifts in various locations in the region, including the Future Tech building in O'Leary where multiple computers were in use.

"We just plan to vote for 39 hours straight," said Della Sweet, the former manager of the O'Leary Community Sports Centre.

The town automatically wins $100,000 for upgrades to its rink for making the final two. Now it will compete with the other finalist, Ituna, Sask, for the Hockeyville 2017 title and the right to host an NHL pre-season game.

Tammy Rix, a member of the O'Leary Kraft Hockeyville committee, was among a large crowd at the local club who cheered in celebration when it was announced O'Leary was selected as a finalist among the 10 communities in the running.  

"I held my tears last night but when I went home I cried and I cried," she said. "I was just so overwhelmed, I really was."

Now, the town is encouraging Islanders to vote for O'Leary so it can bring the NHL pre-season game to the town.

That's something Sandie Smallman, the rink's current manager, said would be a huge bonus for a town that loves hockey.

"It's for the kids really and for the families that spend countless hours here," she said. "It's just to say thank you for being such a big part of the rink."

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