Following a historic match-up featuring communities from the Northwest Territories and Yukon, Canadians have made Fort Smith, NWT the first winner in this year's Kraft Celebration Tour - marking the first time the Tour will visit the Territories. As part of the Kraft Celebration Tour, Fort Smith will receive $25,000 to help their community get back on the ice after a fire damaged the Fort Smith Centennial Arena this past May.
Fort Smith will also host a special edition of SPORTSCENTRE featuring anchors Darren Dutchyshen and Jennifer Hedger when they kick start the tour with a live broadcast from the Northwest Territories on Friday, Aug. 16 at 6 p.m. ET on TSN.
"We were moved by Fort Smith's nomination and their resolve to rally together and rebuild the Fort Smith Centennial Arena. This is a fantastic example of what the Kraft Celebration Tour is all about," said Jack Hewitt, Vice-President, Marketing Insights and Services, Kraft Canada. "We're proud to help Fort Smith move forward and get their community back on the ice so that they can continue to be active in the sports they love."
"Dutchy and I are so pumped to visit the Northwest Territories this summer and meet the good people of Fort Smith," said Jennifer Hedger, SPORTSCENTRE anchor. "We can't wait to roll into town and host SPORTSCENTRE against the beautiful backdrop of Fort Smith - it'll be a great time and an unforgettable experience."
Nestled in the boreal forest along the banks of the Slave River, Fort Smith was once the capital of the Northwest Territories. Today, Fort Smith is home to 2,500 people and is a gateway to Wood Buffalo National Park - the largest National Park in Canada.
Earlier this year, the Fort Smith Centennial Arena was damaged by a fire. Until the arena is repaired, a coalition of concerned citizens is looking to build a temporary outdoor rink to ensure local residents can get back to participating in figure skating, hockey, and speed skating.
Fort Smith was named to the Kraft Celebration Tour after winning a national, head-to-head online vote over Whitehorse. Fort Smith brought home the victory with 253,022 votes, while Whitehorse amassed a total of 35,566 votes in support of its nomination.
Canadians can decide the other winning communities for the Kraft Celebration Tour over the next two weeks. One pair of communities is featured each weekday through July 19, and Canadians can visit KraftCelebrationTour.ca or Tourneedecelebrationkraft.ca to vote for their favourite communities (see below for match-ups and scheduled voting dates). Voting is unlimited and runs from 12 noon ET each day for a 24-hour period.
During the voting period, SPORTSCENTRE on TSN and SPORTS 30 on RDS profile each match-up with a look at the duelling communities and their proposed community projects. Results of each vote will be announced the following weekday on SPORTSCENTRE and SPORTS 30.
The other communities selected as finalists for the Kraft Celebration Tour, along with their match-ups and scheduled voting dates, are as follows:
Tuesday, July 9 - Morell, P.E.I. vs. Pownal, P.E.I.
Wednesday, July 10 - Bridgewater, N.S. vs. Windsor, N.S.
Thursday, July 11 - Invermere, B.C. vs. Pemberton, B.C.
Friday, July 12 - Salisbury, N.B. vs. Fredericton, N.B.
Monday, July 15 - Vulcan, Alta. vs. Raymond, Alta.
Tuesday, July 16 - Saint-Étienne-de-Beauharnois, Que. vs. L'Assomption, Que.
Wednesday, July 17 - Rocanville, Sask. vs. Esterhazy, Sask.
Thursday, July 18 - St. James Town (Toronto) vs. Wilmot, Ont.
Friday, July 19 - Dryden, Ont. vs. Fort Frances, Ont.
In addition to voting, fans can keep up with the Kraft Celebration Tour on social media by visiting and liking the Kraft Celebration Tour Fan Page on Facebook and by following and interacting with the tour's personalities on Twitter. The official Twitter account for the Kraft Celebration Tour is @KCTAndy and the official hashtags include #KCT and #tourneedecelebrationkraft.