Town of Bentley hopeful to make top five in national hockey contest

It’s a safe bet all 1,132 people in Bentley, about 30 kms northwest of Red Deer, will be watching Hockey Night in Canada Saturday.

That’s when the five finalists for the 2011 Kraft Hockeyville title will be announced live during the broadcast. Bentley is up against Brandon, Manitoba to be selected as the coveted regional winner in the West.

Bentley Mayor Joan Dickau says she expects a big crowd at the community church Saturday night to watch the show on a big screen.

“I think everybody is very optimistic and excited. I’m just sorry we can’t vote anymore (voting ended Sunday). A lot of people are talking about how great it would be to win.”

On Feb. 16 and 17 a CBC crew visited Bentley to see how passionate the community was about hockey and Dickau says, “They were very impressed. They said they had enough material to make a movie. That’s the great thing in a small community, everybody pitches in and pulls together.”

She says virtually the whole town turned out loud and proud, signs were everywhere and there was endless hockey at all levels from peewee to the Allan Cup contending Bentley Generals. Just about everyone has kept their signs up, says Dickau, and it would be really nice to win some money to spend on the Bentley Arena (home of the Bentley Hockey Academy) because it was built in the 1960s and could use some upgrading.

Kraft Hockeyville, now in its sixth season, is a reality TV contest in which communities across Canada compete to demonstrate their passion and commitment to ice hockey.

Voting for the five finalists closed March 13. Finalists will be announced Saturday, one in each region: Pacific, West, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic.

Each of the five will at least get $25,000 to upgrade their arena and a Hockey Night in Canada broadcast in their community. Voting for the grand prize will take place between March 19 and March 21.

The final winner, to be announced live on Hockey Night in Canada on April 2, will get $100,000 for their arena, a Hockey Night in Canada broadcast in their community and an NHL pre-season game in their community arena. Everyone in Bentley is keeping their fingers crossed for good luck.