Watch above: The Edmonton Eskimos’ 50/50 draw also helps amateur football teams in Edmonton. So, last night’s big jackpot was great news for them too. Kendra Slugoski reports.
EDMONTON – The record Eskimos’ 50/50 jackpot has left 20-year-old Connor Croken with a nearly $350,000 windfall overnight. It’s also very good news for a handful of local minor football programs.
The other half of the 50/50 ticket sales will be distributed between:
- Football Alberta
- Eskimo Alumni Association
- University of Alberta Golden Bears
- Edmonton Huskies Junior Football Club
- Edmonton Wildcats Junior Football Club
The latter two get a bigger chunk of the pie, as they’re the volunteers who sell the 50/50 tickets. The Huskies and Wildcats both had 27 players manning the machines at Thursday’s game.
“Last night was outrageous, I’ve never seen anything like that,” said Isaiah Hoeppner, an Edmonton Wildcats player.
He adds that normally it’s an easy gig and he rarely gets more than three or four people in his lineup. Thursday was an entirely different story.
WATCH: Raw video of crowds on the concourse
One volunteer sold $1,400 worth of tickets to a single individual; over the course of the evening, eighteen printers churned out 170,000 tickets.
Volunteers could only sell 750 tickets before having to refill. All while hundreds waited in line.
“We would go get more tickets and probably sell out in five minutes,” said Andrew MacLean of the Edmonton Huskies.
“They think playing football is tough, last night they were under extreme conditions,” said Len Rhodes, the Eskimos’ president & CEO. “They deserve all the credit in the world.”
All the hard work will pay off, though. Without the 50/50 money, amateur teams like the Huskies and Wildcats wouldn’t even make it to the field.
“Probably 90 per cent of the funding comes from the 50/50,” according to Huskies’ president, Curtis Craig. The money helps pay for everything from equipment, to scholarships and travel.
Last night’s jackpot amounts to more than half the 50/50 cash handed out last season, which was $678,353. The Huskies received $162,000 of that — not quite enough to make ends meet.
Now, halfway through this season, the teams are already big winners.
“Yeah, we earned our volunteer wages,” said Hoeppner. “That’s for sure.”
Here’s how the Eskimos’ massive $348,534 jackpot stacks up to other teams’ recent 50/50 totals:
- Winnipeg Blue Bombers – $43,923 (July 17)
- Calgary Stampeders – $42,425 (July 18)
- Saskatchewan Roughriders – $41,067 (July 12)
- B.C. Lions – $25,245 (July 19)
- Toronto Argonauts – $5,250 (July 12)
With files from Kendra Slugoski, Global News
© Shaw Media, 2014