John Baird, Hillary Clinton face off in friendly cross-border Stanley Cup wager

WASHINGTON – John Baird and Hillary Clinton are dropping the gloves, diplomatically speaking.

Canada’s foreign affairs minister entered into a friendly wager with his U.S. counterpart Thursday to see who emerges from the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs wearing the other team’s colours.

Baird, in the U.S. capital for a meeting of G8 foreign ministers, is backing his hometown Ottawa Senators in their best-of-seven series with the New York Rangers, while Clinton—the U.S. secretary of state—bills herself as a Big Apple fan.

The pair announced the wager at an event in Washington, each clutching their team’s hometown jersey—Baird’s emblazoned with the name of Senators centre Jason Spezza, his favourite player.

If the Rangers win, Baird will wear New York blue. If the Senators prevail, Clinton must don Ottawa red.

“I’m pretty confident that you’ll look good in blue,” said Clinton, who represented New York in the U.S. Senate. Baird responded in kind. “You can wear it around the house,” he told her.

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Later, speaking to journalists outside the Canadian Embassy, Baird acknowledged that while the opposing team’s logos would probably sting a little, their colours won’t.

“It’s funny; she says I’ll look good in blue and I say she’ll look good in red,” he said.

“Red is a Republican colour in the United States, and blue is a Conservative colour in Canada.”

Wagering on hockey games is becoming a tradition between Canadian and American politicians.

U.S. President Barack Obama lost a bet to Prime Minister Stephen Harper over the 2010 Olympic gold medal match between Canada and the United States. The president had a case of Yuengling beer delivered to his Canadian counterpart.

Their press secretaries also bet on both the men’s and women’s gold medal games.

Robert Gibbs, Obama’s former press secretary, then donned the red-and-white Team Canada jersey at the daily White House press briefing after Canada triumphed in both games.