Oh, brother: No cash for Minnesota boy's lucky hockey shot

  • Article by: STAFF and WIRE REPORTS , Associated Press
  • Updated: September 1, 2011 - 12:44 AM

Company will donate $20,000 to youth hockey after winner of raffle was replaced by his twin.

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Nate Smith and his dad, Pat, second from right, posed after the 11-year-old made the improbable shot last month in Faribault, Minn.

Photo: Brendan Burnett-Kurie, Associated Press

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A Minnesota boy who made an incredible hockey shot during a charity event won't collect the $50,000 prize because his twin brother should have taken the shot.

The company that insured the event, Odds On Promotions of Reno, Nev., said on Wednesday that due to "contractual breaches and legal implications" it was unable to pay the claim. Instead, the company said it would donate $20,000 to youth hockey in Minnesota in the boys' names.

Eleven-year-old Nate Smith hit the puck through a tiny hole 89 feet away during a charity hockey game in Faribault, Minn., on Aug. 11.

But it was Nate's identical twin, Nick, whose raffle ticket won the chance to take the shot.

The boys' father, Pat Smith, says Nick was outside and told his brother to try.

Smith told organizers the next day about the swap. Smith said on Wednesday that the boys are disappointed but excited youth hockey will benefit.

The shot, and the revelation, had earned the family appearances on national TV and sparked of controversy over whether the prize should be paid.

In retrospect, Pat Smith said last month, he should have written "Nick or Nate" when he bought the ticket. "I didn't honestly think it mattered which one shot. We kind of always think of them as either/or."

Then everything happened so fast, Pat Smith recalled.

"We kind of got caught up in it. We'd come there with a couple of other families and a couple of dads reminded me right away it was Nick's name drawn. But no one [else] really knew," he said. "The next day we were all feeling guilty and the boys didn't feel right about it so we called and set the story straight. ... We didn't want [the boys] to feel it was OK to lie just to win some money."

Odds On Promotions said the $20,000 donation will benefit the Owatonna Youth Hockey Association, in which the Smiths play, as well as the Faribault Youth Hockey Association, the promotion's original beneficiary.

"We greatly respect the eventual honesty of the Smith family," Mark Gilmartin, president of Odds On Promotions, said in a news release. "Although we're unable to pay the claim on Nate's incredible shot, we are confident our donation will foster a positive environment for present and future youth hockey in Minnesota."

 

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