Hockey night in North Saanich

Panorama has its fingers crossed for Hockeyville this Saturday night.

On Saturday night, we’ll know if the Saanich Peninsula is one of two Canadian communities in the running for an NHL preseason hockey game.

Oh, and $100,000 for arena improvements.

Panorama Recreation Centre’s Arena B is in the running for the title of Kraft Hockeyville for 2015. It finished in the top 10 across the country and people were voting fast and furiously last weekend to try to get the rink into the top two.

This weekend, supporters will know if their constant online clicking was enough.

Panorama Rec. Centre is inviting people from across the region to Arena B Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. They’ll broadcast Hockey Night in Canada on a big screen, and keep their fingers crossed.

The man who nominated Arena B and started all of this, says he was amazed at the Island-wide response and voting in Hockeyville.

Jason Fletcher says he had “an insane amount” of people telling him that they voted all weekend — some doing it thousands of times before the 9 p.m. deadline on Monday. Within his own family and circle of friends, people were voting and calling relatives in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, trying to eke out a few extra votes.

“It’s been quite heart warming to see the number of people who jumped on board,” he says. “This community is really coming out to support this.”

While the event has its roots in the hockey community, Fletcher said the Hockeyville event has broad appeal — and it will continue to need that support if Panorama makes it into the top two.

Should it reach that pinnacle, Fletcher says the voting starts all over again. The top two arenas — one in the west and one in the east of Canada — vie for the top Kraft Hockeyville prize: an NHL preseason game.

Panorama is preparing. Fletcher says they are putting out laptops and boosting their Wi-Fi signal to allow for everyone’s devices to work inside the arena.

Doors to Arena B at Panorama open at 6:30 p.m. An inflatable big screen will be on the ice, showing Hockey Night in Canada and there will be popcorn flowing.

And should Panorama not make the top two?

Fletcher says he can accept that, especially after seeing how the Saanich Peninsula and Vancouver Island communities stepped up to show their support.

“We are preparing for the best,” he says. “I’m confident that everyone involved has reached as much of the community as possible.”

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