Airdrie shooting for title

SHAWN LOGAN -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:33 PM ET

Game on!

Airdrie is hoping a flurry of phone calls will cement its spot as Canada's Hockeyville as it faces off with four other communities vying for the title tomorrow on CBC.

Residents will crowd around TVs as they await the vote to determine if Airdrie will be crowned Hockeyville, earning the right to host an NHL exhibition game as well as being awarded big bucks for hockey equipment and arena upgrades.

Airdrie has survived from an initial 460 applications, earning a spot among 50 communities chosen for the program.

From there, videos highlighting the community and its hockey programs were enough to sway a panel of celebrity judges and viewers who called in or voted online.

Peter Brown, a co-captain of Airdrie's Prairie Pond Posse that spearheaded the bid, is in Ottawa waiting to tape the show's final episode and admits it's crunch time.

"We're into the Stanley Cup finals right now, but we're on pins and needles," he said of making the popular contest's final five.

"The community, especially the kids, are absolutely pumped."

Airdrie made the final cut Friday night, joining Falher, Alta. -- about 600 km northwest of Calgary -- Smithers, B.C., Barry's Bay, Ont., and Salmon River, N.S.

Phone calls and votes on the show's website determine the winner, so Brown is hoping for a groundswell of support.

"It's all up to the votes now, so we want to get the word out to everybody in Southern Alberta," he said.

Airdrie Mayor Linda Bruce said the exposure for the city is exceptional.

"It really shows what a committed group of volunteers can do," Bruce said.

"I don't think they thought we would make the first cut and here we are."

In addition to hosting the exhibition game, the winning community gets a $50,000 account from Home Depot for arena upgrades and $10,000 worth of hockey equipment from CCM/Reebok.

To vote, call 1-888-459-2006 or visit www.cbchockeyville.ca. Each phone number or online entry can have five votes.


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