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Insurer won't pay Minn. boy for 'miracle' hockey shot, instead donating $20K to youth hockey
MINNEAPOLS (AP) ' It was an amazing hockey shot, with the puck sliding into a tiny hole from center ice for a $50,000 prize. But a penalty was called on the Minnesota boy who made the shot during a charity event because his twin brother should have been wielding the stick.
The company that insured the event, Odds On Promotions of Reno, Nev., said 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.
With one shot, 11-year-old Nate Smith hit the puck through a hole cut into a board from 89 feet away during a charity hockey game at Shattuck-St. Mary's School in the southern Minnesota city of Faribault on Aug. 11. But it was Nate's identical twin, Nick, whose raffle ticket won the chance to take the shot at a hole just slightly larger than the puck.
The boys' father, Pat Smith of Owatonna, said Nick was going outside with his buddies and told his brother to try.
"It didn't even dawn on me he (Nate) was going to make it," Smith told The Associated Press Wednesday.
He told organizers the next day about his sons' swap. "You could tell they weren't feeling right about it," Smith said of the boys.
"We weren't trying to hide anything," he added. "We just felt honesty was the best policy."
Originally, Smith said he was going to write Nate's name on the raffle ticket before the drawing. But Nate begged off because he had just had a cast removed, his father said.
"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."
Smith said the boys, who are entering sixth grade, are disappointed they won't get the money but are excited that youth hockey will benefit.
"They understand," Smith said.
Nick and Nate Smith play for the Owatonna Youth Hockey Association. Odds On Promotions said the $20,000 donation will benefit that organization as well as the Faribault Youth Hockey Association, the promotion's original beneficiary.