What is believed to be one of the largest 50/50 draws in amateur sports in the region has netted the winner nearly $80,000. 

The winner of the latest jackpot is a 27-year-old cook’s helper at the Canadian Coast Guard College.

Colleagues say Ryan Hawkins is quiet and hard-working, while his boss says the prize could not have been given to a better guy.

Last week, the Minor Hockey Association in Glace Bay sold nearly 160,000 tickets at $1 each.

The association credits motivated players and their parents for the record sales.

“Parents know that if they sell the tickets their kids can play minor hockey. Their registration is paid for, they really get that,” says league office manager Tracey Hanrahan. “They go out there and sell those tickets.”

The season-long weekly ticket blitz allows 580 minor hockey players in Glace Bay to enjoy some of the least expensive hockey in the region.

“In fact, upward of 75 per cent of our kids don’t pay to play at all,” says league president James Edwards.

Edwards says that has convinced the community that minor hockey tickets are a good bet on a worthy cause.

“People have bought into the draw. The ticket sells itself,” he says.

Area resident Duke Campbell buys tickets each week. He says he is dreaming big after the recent $80,000 jackpot.

“Buy a new car, pay off some bills, pay the mortgage off and so on,” he says.

Pooled ticket sales are also popular.

Joe Burke and 18 of his co-workers have shared more than $50,000 in even-split prizes over the years.

“We have 38 tickets, and when there is a big ticket draw like last week, we may spend an extra $20 or $25 each on extra tickets.”

With files from CTV Atlantic's Randy MacDonald