Grey Cup referee, NFL official and Lotto Max winner

As he checked the numbers on the lottery ticket he’d basically forgotten was in his briefcase — then checked again followed by a third time with eyes getting wider and wider — it dawned on him that 2017 might’ve been the best year ever.

For anyone, anywhere.

“I don’t know how long (my good luck) is going to last,” Dave Foxcroft laughs. “It may be about to run out.”

A warning: If you’re someone who struggles to find enjoyment in others’ good fortune or is prone to jealousy, this is probably the right time to flip to another story because the series of events coming next may cause you some distress.

His string of good luck really began in early August.

For a couple years now, a development program to improve officiating on both sides of the border has seen some CFL officials work NFL pre-season games, and vice versa. Under this arrangement, the 18-year veteran of the Canadian game got the call to do a game at Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers.

No, it wasn’t the Frozen Tundra in the middle of summer. But it is still about the most-historic stadium in the league and the must-visit spot for anyone who loves football. Especially when there are 74,000 people in the stands.

Just days later while still buzzing about the experience, the Burlington native hit a personal milestone when he turned 50.

Then, in November, he got the biggest nod yet when he was selected to referee the Grey Cup game. Since 1940, there have been just 25 men trusted with that task. It’s a position earned on merit based on performance throughout the season, which makes it a terrific compliment.

“That’s the ultimate,” he says.

And that would’ve been quite enough to make this a year for the ages. With his framed Grey Cup jersey on the wall, a program from the Packers’ game on the shelf and maybe a candle from his significant birthday on the mantle, it was all there.

Anno perfectus.

He doesn’t say if any of these moments came up in conversation when he got together with Fox40’s mold maker for a Christmas lunch. Foxcroft is the president and COO of the Hamilton-based whistle company. All he recalls is that his guest mentioned he’d bought a ticket for the upcoming Lotto Max draw since the jackpot was $60 million.

Foxcroft rarely plays the lottery. But on his way back to the office he stopped at a store and spent $35 on a bunch of tickets. He didn’t even pick his own lucky numbers, just went with Quick Pick. Then back at his desk, he wondered why he’d bothered. You never win.

As he did, he threw the tickets into his briefcase and promptly forgot about them.

So he never bothered looking up the winning numbers on his computer from Florida where he was vacationing in the moments following the Dec. 22 draw. Nor did he make the effort the first couple days back at work. When he finally cracked open the briefcase on Jan. 3 and saw them there, they were about the last thing on his mind. Still, there they were.

“I just thought I’d check,” he says.

As he went down the winning numbers — 13, 16, 19, 21, 24, 26, 30 and 36 — he was stunned. He saw six of the seven on one of his tickets, plus the bonus number. Including 30, which is his number on the field. He loved that. He checked again. Then again. Then called the company controller into the office to make sure he wasn’t seeing things. He wasn’t. He’d won.

Yes, he’d missed the $60 million by one number. That stung a bit. But when he headed into Toronto on Wednesday to hand in his golden ticket, he was presented with a cheque for $219,189.70.

You want a capper to a year to remember? There you go.

The only number he missed? The one that prevented him from turning good fortune into a legitimate fortune? That was 21. Which immediately gets you thinking, who wears that number in the CFL? Who’s Foxcroft’s Mr. Bad Luck?

“Simoni Lawrence doesn’t have to worry,” he quips of the Tiger-Cats’ linebacker who’s made 21 popular in Hamilton. “I won’t hold it against him.”

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