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Bentley vies for Hockeyville crown 0

Josh Skapin

Globe Staff

Over the past month, Bentley's hockey community has been making its case in a national competition.

For the third year in a row, Bentley is in the running for Kraft Hockeyville, a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) contest honouring a community's collective passion for the sport.

The distinction of being named Kraft Hockeyville comes with a $100,000 prize meant to upgrade the town hockey arena. The communities that finish second to fifth place earn $25,000 each for the same purpose.

Since the start of January, residents of the towns competing for the Hockeyville crown have been sharing stories and images on the contest web site www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/hockeyville.

Bentley compiled the second highest number of stories and images, with 209 and 302 respectively.

Edson's hockey supporters were the busiest, logging 398 stories and 649 images.

Bentley's Kraft Hockeyville committee chair Angel Hand said there are a number of reasons why Bentley should be considered for an honour celebrating a community's hockey spirit, including its senior mens' hockey club, the Bentley Generals.

"It's funny, I'm sure like many small towns, when our team is playing on the weekend our town comes to life," Hand said.

Also a big part of Bentley's hockey portfolio is its new academy program.

This year, Bentley school switched to an academy format, offering options in fine arts, athletics, and one dedicated to hockey.

"For this population, it really is a lot of hockey," Hand said.

"The arena revolves around a lot of it, even economically it spins off to everybody."

Hand said campaigning for Bentley has been an enjoyable experience.

"I think it's great fun."

The winner will be selected by a judging panel, noting the community's originality and overall hockey spirit.

CBC cameras will be rolling in Bentley, collecting footage of a number of planned hockey-related events Feb. 16-17.

Bentley School is welcoming the community to participate in floor hockey, street hockey, Wii hockey, and hockey scrabble during the morning of Feb. 17. Also that morning, Bentley Hockey Academy will be on the ice at Bentley Arena with special guest instructors. Hockey games featuring players from the Bentley Hockey Academy, Bentley Minor Hockey, the Hockey Bags, the Foggers, the Old-Timers, the PHL, Bentley School staff and students, and the Bentley Generals will begin at 1 p.m.