Twin's lucky shot a $50,000 dilemma

Updated: August 16, 2011, 2:00 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The rules of the contest were simple: The winning $10 raffle ticket drawn at random earned one lucky contestant the right to shoot a puck through a tiny target from half a rink away for $50,000.

But what if it was your twin brother who took the shot? And what if he actually made it? Would you take the money?

Those questions arose after 11-year-old Nate Smith strode onto the ice at halftime and made the 89-foot shot, stunning even the NHL players in attendance at the "Shattuck Vs. The World" charity game last week in Faribault, Minn., about an hour south of the Twin Cities.

"I probably couldn't have done it," said Kyle Okposo of the New York Islanders, according to the Faribault Daily News. "There's maybe five of us in (the Shattuck locker room) who could have done it. That's a tough shot."

But as remarkable as the feat was -- the target was only half an inch wider than the puck itself, according to the Faribault Daily News -- the drama was just beginning.

Nate Smith was shooting on behalf of his twin brother, Nick, whose name was listed on the winning ticket. Nick had wandered out of the arena, thinking there was no way he'd win the right to try the shot, and Nate stepped up when Nick didn't appear.

"I was outside when my name was called," Nick Smith told KARE-TV. "I walked back in and my friend told me my brother made the shot. ... I was shocked."

He wasn't the only one who was surprised.

"I don't believe it," Nate Smith said moments after making the shot, according to the Faribault Daily News. "It feels like a dream."

But the twins' parents, Pat and Kim Smith, knew the reality -- the name on the ticket didn't match the boy on the ice. The next day, they told the event's insurer, Odds on Promotions, that it had been Nate, and not Nick, who took the shot, according to media reports.

And now it's up to the company to decide whether the family will get the $50,000 prize.

The family says if it wins the prize, it will set aside some of the winnings for college and donate the rest, according to the Faribault Daily News.

Ironically, when the ticket was purchased, Nate was asked if he wanted his name on the ticket and declined, because he recently had a cast taken off of his arm, according to the newspaper.

Kim Smith pointed out there was nothing on the ticket saying the person listed was the one who actually had to attempt the shot, according to the report.

"If Nate would have just let me put his name down," Pat Smith added, according to the report.