O'Leary, P.E.I. named Kraft Hockeyville champions

O'Leary, P.E.I. and Ituna, Sask. were named the two finalists on March 18 for the Kraft Hockeyville 2017 competition.

O'Leary will host an NHL pre-season game

O'Leary has been announced as Krafthockeyville 2017. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

O'Leary, P.E.I. has been named Kraft Hockeyville champions.

The announcement was made on CBC and Sportsnet just before 8 p.m. AT Saturday night, with the arena erupting into cheers.

For winning, O'Leary will get to host an NHL pre-season game on Sept. 25 between the Ottawa Senators and the New Jersey Devils. 

"I can't believe it," said Jo-anne Wallace, a member of the O'Leary Hockeyville committee. "It's been just awesome. What a day. What a victory."

"I just feel completely overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with pride," said former rink manager Della Sweet. 

O'Leary and Ituna, Sask. were named the two finalists on March 18 for the competition.

According to Kraft Hockeyville, over 2.4 millions votes were cast in the final round of the competition.

The crowd erupted as soon as O'Leary was announced the winner. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

"It's just been an unbelievable journey," said O'Leary Kraft Hockeyville committee member Tammy Rix. "We have come together...and these kids are not going to forget this."

As a finalist, the communities are guaranteed $100,000 for upgrades to their local arenas. In the case of O'Leary, the money will be used for upgrades to the Community Sports Centre.

On Saturday, crowds of residents piled into the arena for a party.

Della Sweet, former rink manager of the O'Leary Community Sports Center, celebrates. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

The day started with a parade of all the minor hockey teams, and was followed with live music, bouncy castles and barbecue, all in anticipation of the evening's announcement.

Earlier in March, O'Leary was named a top-10 finalist, which guaranteed at least $25,000 for upgrades for the Community Sports Centre.

O'Leary also made the top 10 in 2006, but fell short of the prize.

With files from Nicole Williams