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Over the weekend the 2018 Kraft Hockeyville winner was named Lucan, Ont. as the town beat out three other communities across Canada including Lafleche.

The announcement was made by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman during the first intermission of the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers game.

With the win, Lucan will receive the grand prize of $250,000 and a chance to host an NHL preseason game.

The three runner-ups (High River, Alta., Huntingdon, Que., and Lafleche) won't walk away empty handed as they will all receive $25,000 towards arena upgrades and $10,000 towards new hockey equipment.

Gillian de Graauw is a teacher in Lafleche and one of the Hockeyville organizers for Lafleche. She said that they plan on putting the money to good use.

"It'll be huge," she said. "We'll put it in a rainy day fund for the ice plant, and hopefully we'll be able to keep our rink going and provide the necessary repairs we need as we go."

de Graauw said though everybody was disappointed they didn't win, they are still happy with a top-four finish.

"I thought we had a great campaign, and I thought we had a lot of votes," she said. "I guess at the end of the day we still made a lot of money for our rink and we came together as a community, and that's all you could ask for."

She said that it wasn't just support from Lafleche but from all over the southwest.

"It was amazing with all the people who came tonight," she said. "Our town is only 400 people, and there was far more than 400 here tonight. We had support from everyone from everywhere, votes all across the county we are told. We tried our very best, and that's all we could do. We had a really good time; it was an exciting trip, I just wish we could have brought it home."

Over 700 people attended their celebration party which featured a dinner, silent auction, and a bouncy castle.

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Carmen Ellis is the mayor of Lafleche and said the money would not only help the town located 152 kilometres southwest of Swift Current but everyone else who uses their rink.

"When you think of it, we have 18 communities that use our rink in the winter time," she said. "18 communities rely on us to have ice in the winter time so their kids can play hockey, so the support from those communities was awesome and everywhere."

Ellis added that looking forward to next year if a community from Saskatchewan is in the finals; she says Lafleche will support them just like they were supported.

"I would love to see a small town Saskatchewan town win," she said. "It's hard to compete with those bigger communities, and in Saskatchewan, we are all small towns, so hopefully one day we will win."

With Lafleche losing out it means that Saskatchewan will have to wait another year to see its first community named Kraft Hockeyville.

Lafleche became the fifth Saskatchewan community to receive upgrades joining Wilcox, Humboldt, Swift Current, and Ituna who was a finalist last year.

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