Voting for Kraft Hockeyville starts in less than two weeks and residents of Ste. Anne are asking the whole province to help their community claim this year's grand prize.
Ste. Anne is up against Saint-Anselme, Quebec as well as Maple Ridge, BC and West Lorne, Ontario. The winning community will host an NHL game and receive $250,000 in arena upgrades. The three runners-up will receive $25,000 in arena upgrades.
Erin Muzyka has started a Facebook group in an effort to garner as much attention as possible for her community, in the weeks leading up to voting. Voting opens Friday, March 31st at 8 am CST and wraps on Saturday, April 1st at 4 pm CST.
The Facebook group is called Ste. Anne Hockeyville 2023. Muzyka says they already have more than 1,700 members.
'It is spreading like wildfire, growing like crazy," she says. "And everybody is jumping on board."
Muzyka says part of the purpose of the Facebook page is to give people a place to find all the information they need on how to vote. But the intent is also to have a central location where people can share what they are doing to help Ste. Anne's bid. If you visit the page, you can see firsthand how students are making posters, residents are decking out their houses and even pets are wearing Aces jerseys.
"Everybody who wants to rally with us, I want them to have a place where they can share what they are doing," she explains. "Let's get excited, let's show how excited we are."
And, Muzyka is inviting all of Manitoba, not only Ste. Anne, to help their cause. She asks residents of Steinbach to forget about its rivalry with Ste. Anne for a couple of weeks.
"We're turning to our friends in the neighbouring communities of hockey players and non-hockey players," she says. "Let's share this, let's support each other and any support and any votes we can get thrown our way from our friends in the neighbouring communities, that's going to mean the world to us."
Even though voting is still two weeks away, Muzyka says now is the time for people to pre-register. It is also the time to visit the Ste. Anne Hockeyville 2023 Facebook page to share pictures and post 'Go Aces Go,' messages. And she asks people to use the hashtag, #KraftHockeyville.
"I think that goes a long way to people here in Ste. Anne too," she says. "That if we know that everybody has kind of got our back then that really keeps the flame alive for the 14-day period."
Muzyka says another one of her goals is that when she searches the hashtag for Kraft Hockeyville, Ste. Anne will be at the top of that hashtag every time.
She notes right now there are a lot of residents in Ste. Anne that are already living and breathing Kraft Hockeyville 24 hours a day. But she says as we get closer to the start of voting on March 31st, the town will turn black and orange.
"We're challenging businesses, put the balloons out, get the signs out," she urges. "We know Kraft Hockeyville is watching too and we want to make sure that we're showing them that we're really excited."
With files from Carly Koop