After putting themselves at risk of repetitive strain injuries for four days, Woolwich residents will find out tonight (Saturday) if their fast and furious voting has netted them the Hockeyville title.
The winning community will be announced during CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada broadcast.
Woolwich’s Hockeyville committee is inviting everyone to an announcement party in the youth centre on the upper level of the Elmira Arena at 9 p.m. The voting station with 44 computers on loan from Reality Bytes will make way for a big-screen television. CBC camera crews will be on hand to capture the crowd’s reaction if Woolwich is victorious.
Votes poured in in such numbers that CBC’s systems strained to keep up. People phoning their votes in had trouble getting through, and confirmation to voters using text messaging was delayed. Online voting was extended to 1:30 a.m. Thursday because of a 90-minute delay getting the system up and running.
“It’s going like crazy,” said local Hockeyville organizer Graham Snyder in the thick of voting Tuesday afternoon. “I don’t think they’ve ever seen voting like this. People are doing a wonderful job.”
“It’s incredible, being in the hub of it,” said Jake Baleshta, looking around the voting station in the arena Wednesday night. “Just the camaraderie of the whole community, it’s like Christmas all over again.”
With two boys in hockey, the Baleshtas have been voting enthusiastically. Blackberry in hand, Baleshta estimated it took him five seconds per text message.
“Every time I have a break throughout the day, I’ve done it. I don’t know how many I’ve done; I’m pretty sure my son is over 2,000.”
Snyder also thanked the thousands of volunteers who voted, coaxed their friends to vote, helped organize Hockeyville events and came out to show their support.
“The pride and passion shown by our township, region, province and indeed from around the world has been awe-inspiring,” he said.
Woolwich is already guaranteed $25,000 for making the top five. The winning community will get $100,000 for arena upgrades and an NHL preseason game played in its local arena.