A 20-year-old oil field worker was all smiles on Friday afternoon.
“I became the luckiest man in Edmonton,” Connor Croken told CBC News.
Croken became exactly $348,534 richer Friday after winning the enormous 50/50 jackpot from Thursday night’s Eskimos game against the Calgary Stampeders.
The young man woke up this morning to a phone call from one of his friends telling him he likely won the big prize.
“I was in bed this morning and one of my buddies called me and said he was 30 digits off,”’ Croken said. “That means you won.”
He checked the Eskimos website and, sure enough, there was his ticket number.
“I was shocked,” Croken said. “I couldn’t even speak. I’m still speechless! It’s still sinking in. That’s a lot of money.”
After Croken discovered he was Thursday night’s big winner, he decided to drop by the office.
“I went into work and rubbed it in my bosses’ face that I got a bigger payday than they did today,” he said with a laugh.
Croken waited more than an hour to purchase $100 worth of 50/50 tickets on Thursday night. The football fan said he always buys tickets at Eskimos games but has never actually won anything.
Croken, who was born and raised in Edmonton, says he hopes to use the money to move out of his parents house and purchase his own.
The perfect 50/50 storm
Ticket sales led to long lineups in the concourse of Commonwealth Stadium, causing some people to miss part of the game.
“It became the perfect storm of being overwhelmed at every level,” said vice president of marketing and communications Alan Watt.
Although the tickets were sold digitally, under rules set by the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission, each one had to be printed and then placed into a barrel for a draw. All the tickets weren’t printed out until about 4 a.m. Friday, which is why the winner wasn’t announced until after the game.
“We had 18 printers here printing up to or over 170,000 separate tickets so that we could make the draw,” Watt said.
The tickets are sold by members of amateur junior football teams that benefit from the draw. Police had to be brought in to ensure their safety, something Watt feels bad about.
Half the money in the draw goes to the winner, the other half goes to amateur football. The Huskies and Wildcats get most of the money, but some goes to the University of Alberta Golden Bears for scholarships.
Football Alberta receives some funding and the Eskimos take an amount to help pay for the computer system used for the draws.
WATCH: 50/50 tickets getting printed (video courtesy of the Edmonton Eskimos)