'Doesn't seem real': Alberta couple will keep working after $8.7 million World Juniors' 50/50 win
EDMONTON -- An Alberta couple who won more than $8.7 million in Tuesday's World Juniors' 50/50 draw says the windfall still hasn't sunk in.
In an interview with CTV News, Hayley McNeil and Kyle Isaac called the money a "game changer."
"Doesn't seem real," said Isaac, who works as a heavy duty mechanic for a mine in Yukon Territory.
The two winners are originally from Yukon, but have been living in Alberta for 12 years, spending the last six in Calgary.
"We were tuning in largely because of Dylan Cozens who’s a young Yukon hockey player," said McNeil.
"He’s the first Yukoner to play in the World Juniors and to be drafted to the NHL, so we were so excited to watch him play and cheer him on and as we were watching we saw the jackpot grow and grow and grow, we’re like, ‘What the hell? Let’s buy a ticket,' and we got lucky."
Some may say 'lucky' is an understatement. Tuesday's $17.5 million total pot was the largest in a series of online 50/50 draws during the hockey tournament which was played in Edmonton over the holidays.
"It was disbelief. It was hard to wrap your head around it. Didn’t seem real till we got the email confirmation back from Hockey Canada, says, 'Congratulations.' Then we knew it was real," Isaac said.
Millionaires, or not, the two say they both plan to continue to work.
"I still love what I do, it’s just now it’s stress free working," said McNeil, who does health and safety for a powerline company.
"You’ve got a bit more flexibility, financial freedom obviously and you can choose work life balance over just the hustle and bustle and climbing the ladder," she said.
McNeil says they already have a few ideas on how they'll spend their winnings.
"I wish we could be going on a hot vacation, but we’re not politicians so we’ll do that when the time’s right. We’ve talked about burning the mortgage that’s for sure and send some of our wealth home to our family in the Yukon."
"Share the wealth, it’s the right thing to do," added Isaac.
With their new found fortune the Calgary couple hasn't forgotten what motivated them to watch Tuesday's gold medal game in the first place.
"We’ll probably pick up some Dylan Cozens jerseys now as a thank you for making us tune in and watch and cheer him on," said McNeil. "Maybe next year we’ll hit up the World Juniors because they’re going to be in Alberta again."
The online 50/50s were held every game day throughout the tournament and tickets were only available to people in Alberta.
Money raised through the draws will be put toward hockey initiatives in Alberta.