WINNIPEG — A Winnipeg woman says a "bad call" cost her $1 million.
Karen Kuldys was automatically entered into a contest that would award her with $1 million if two touchdowns were scored on kick returns during a game between the Toronto Argonauts and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Thursday.
Two were scored, but a flag for an illegal block in the back by Toronto's Llevi Noel negated the second touchdown.
Canadian Football League fans took to Twitter, starting the hashtag #WhatAboutKaren, to complain that the referees had made a bad call.
"Oh my God, I was this close to a million dollars — one bad call cost me," Kuldys said Friday in a phone interview.
CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said in a release it was a very tough call, "one that could have gone either way."
"There are tough calls made all the time in our game because these are world-class athletes, moving at tremendous speeds, and we ask our officials to make difficult judgement calls in the blink of an eye, and we have to respect their decisions," said Ambrosie, who has been in the job less than a week.
As a consolation, Sobeys and the CFL have offered a year's worth of free groceries, Blue Bombers season tickets and a family trip to this year's Grey Cup in Ottawa.
Another sponsor of the contest, Air Miles, tweeted it was giving Kuldys 500,000 miles — worth almost $50,000.
"We all feel for Karen and what she must have gone through last night, and what she must still be feeling today," said Ambrosie. "I was in Winnipeg for the game and I spoke with her today."
Kuldys said Ambrosie called her at work to tell her about her consolation prizes. "It's awesome, I'm very happy with that, but as everybody says it's not a million dollars."
Kuldys also won a home entertainment system worth $25,000 as part of the contest for the first kick return touchdown.
There was one other consolation prize for the Winnipeg football fan — the Blue Bombers beat the Argonauts 33-25.
Kuldys said she told her young granddaughter "grandma almost won a million," adding "I'll be telling the story for the rest of my living days."