Baird to Clinton: ‘You wanna bet?’

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) holds a New York Rangers NHL jersey as Foreign Minister John Baird holds an Ottawa Senators jersey to exchange at Blair House in Washington DC, April 12, 2012. The Rangers and Senators open their Stanley Cup playoff series tonight in New York. The officials are wrapping up two days of talks during the G-8 Foreign Ministers Meetings.

Credits: REUTERS/Mike Theiler


sWASHINGTON, D.C. - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and his U.S. counterpart Hillary Clinton got down to serious business at the G8 foreign ministers meeting here.

No, it wasn't the worsening situation in Syria, or North Korea launching a ballistic missile.

They bet on hockey.

Specifically, their respective hometown teams the Ottawa Senators and New York Rangers who square off in the first round of the NHL playoffs. The first game in the best-of-seven series is Thursday night.

"We wagered the loser has to wear the winner's jersey when the first series is over, and I think she'll look great in red," Baird said outside the Canadian Embassy here on Thursday.

"It's funny; she says I'll look good in blue and I say she'll look good in red. Red is a Republican colour in the United States, and blue is a conservative colour in Canada."

Betting on hockey games is nothing new in Canada-U.S. relations. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Barack Obama have placed several wagers on big hockey games, including the 2010 Olympic gold medal match between the two countries.

Canada won, and Obama shipped a case of Yuengling beer to 24 Sussex.

Their press secretaries also wagered on the men's and women's gold medal games, and Obama's former spokesman Robert Gibbs wore a Team Canada jersey at a White House briefing because the U.S. lost both games.

The G8 foreign ministers meeting this week was a prelude to the G8 leaders meeting that takes place at the president's private retreat of Camp David in Maryland next month.

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