Jillian Millard experienced what ranks as the best weekend of her young life.
The eight-year-old is a B.C. Lions fan and was randomly selected among 10,000 entrants across Canada to be the Scotiabank’s Kid Captain for the Grey Cup in Vancouver.
Christie and Richard Millard had signed Jillian and brother Caleb up for the contest months ago and had forgotten about it. When they got the call on Nov. 21 that Jillian won, the household went crazy.
“We were jumping for joy,” said Christie, adding that they wanted to get tickets for the Canadian Football League championship game as they are huge Lions fans. The Millards were in Vancouver the previous weekend for the CFL Western Conference Championship.
“I was screaming,” said Jillian of when she found out she won.
Christie recalled her husband saying, “it was going to be a long week waiting for this.”
The trip included airfare for four, hotel accommodations, four tickets to the Grey Cup, being on-field for the coin toss at midfield prior to the start and a merchandise prize pack.
“The Scotiabank Kid Captain, an experience launched between Scotiabank and the CFL in 2010, offers kids between the ages of seven to 14 a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to feel the excitement of participating in the Grey Cup,” said Scotiabank manager of media relations Andrew Chornenky in an email.
Wearing Tad Kornegay’s No. 11, Jillian loved her Grey Cup experience, which included meeting Rick Hansen.
“I held the real game ball,” said Jillian, whose favourite Lions players are Travis Lulay, Geroy Simon and Paul McCallum.
On Saturday, Millard and her family watched the Lions practice. While on the field with the team, Jillian threw a football with Lulay and Korey Banks. She was also given a football, but didn’t get it signed as she didn’t have a sharpie and didn’t want ruin it with blue ink because of the Blue Bombers.
“Geroy and all the guys were nice,” said Christie.
As for watching the game in the renovated version of B.C. Place?
“It was amazing,” she said, as they watched from the upper deck near the 40-yard line. “It’s gorgeous. The sound is better. They did a fantastic job of the renovations. It was a fantastic experience from Scotiabank.”
Jillian received a lot of free stuff and was just “wired” during the weekend, which was highlighted by the Lions defeating the Blue Bombers 34-23 to capture the 99th Grey Cup Championship in front of 54,313 fans.
“Everything was fantastic,” said Christie.