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Elliot Lake ponders how to spend Hockeyville windfall

Hockey players and figure skaters alike are still celebrating in Elliot Lake.

The small northeastern Ontario community was crowned as Canada's Hockeyville for 2024 on Saturday.

Won by North Bay back in 2007, the title is decided by an unlimited online vote by any Canadians over the age of 14, held on March 29 and 30.

"Honestly, when they made the announcement, I don't think there was a dry eye in the hall," Samantha Gagnon, one of the local Hockeyville organizers who set up some polling stations, said.  

"Everyone in the community is really proud of how we've all pulled together and gotten this."

The city of 11,000, a former uranium mining capital turned retirement destination, beat out three other Canadian communities — Enderby, B.C., Cochrane, Alb. and Wolseley, Sask.— after collecting the most online votes.

"I think it kind of puts us on the map in a good way," said Gagnon. "Like everyone I think who might not have known where Elliot Lake was, now probably have heard of us."

With this achievement, the city receives $250,000 which will go toward arena upgrades, plus the opportunity to host a National Hockey League exhibition game.

They also won $10,000 worth of equipment from NHLPA's Goals & Dreams fund.  

Reflecting on their victory, Gagnon credited the support received from influential figures such as social media personality Olly from 'On The Bench' and the Métis Nation of Ontario, which amplified their message beyond the community.

"It was just rallying for those two weeks, trying to get as much people to know as we could and to get them to listen to our story."

The city's only indoor rink, the 55-year-old Centennial Arena, was shut down suddenly last fall due to structural concerns. 

That forced minor hockey

Read more on cbc.ca