The Canadian Way…

A Strong Hockey Community Shows the Canadian Way

It’s been just over a year since the original home of the Sylvan Lake Hockey Camp came crashing down, triggering an unprecedented outpouring of emotional energy from everyone and anyone who had an attachment to what many felt was more than just a building! And that emotion sparked the beginning of one of the most incredible journeys Sylvan Lake, and those associated with the iconic structure, have ever been on. A journey that galvanized a community like never before and culminated with Sylvan Lake being named as the ‘2014 Kraft Hockeyville National Champion’!

This prestigious award involves literally hundreds of cities, towns and villages across Canada each year, with the winner receiving $100,000 in arena upgrades and the right to host a nationally broadcast NHL® Pre-Season game, being named on Hockey Night in Canada by the President of the National Hockey League! How the community got there and was gripped by the spirit generated by the contest was, and still is, indeed a story unto itself.

It started as a mere nomination post on the Kraft Hockeyville website by Kevin Putnam, a passionate Sylvan Laker who lives in Whitehorse YT.  As a former minor hockey player growing up in town and a long-time group leader at the Hockey Camp, Kevin always envisioned Sylvan Lake as Hockeyville. So as a tribute to the Arena, he took that step. And what a step! Immediately it took off!  Nomination stories poured in to the KHV site by the thousands. From all over the world it was Game On! A small committee was set up to study the next steps and the adventure surged forward.

Nomination round deadline February 9, 2014. Voting rounds March 8th-10th , March 15th-17th  and March 22nd-24th! Preparation for the reveal of the winner on national TV April 5th! The big win!!! And then plans for hosting the game September 24th!  There were many stages to this journey, far too many to be outlined in this article, however you can follow this adventure in the Sylvan Lake News Special Edition, Hockeyville Tragedy to Triumph,  Or go to the Sylvan Lake Kraft Hockeyville 2014 Facebook page and scroll through history

However, the big story was not the win – it was the unprecedented community spirit generated by everything associated with each and every stage of the journey. It truly was human spirit in its finest hour! Such joy and togetherness that we would like to claim as only ours, but it isn’t. If the circumstances were similar in any other community, the outcome would have been the same. Any community anchored by a strong ‘Hockey Community’ shows the ‘Canadian Way’.

Although the Hockey Camp lost a true part of their history, the events only solidified and accelerated the next step in our community’s evolution with the construction of the NexSource Center, our new home. With construction beginning this spring, the$30 million Complex will be done by October 2016. Rest assured the Hockey Camp will still be operating out of the current Multiplex as we did last summer, eagerly anticipating the full completion of our new home!

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top