Obama owes Harper beer

By LAURA PAYTON, Parliamentary Bureau, QMI Agency

OTTAWA - For Prime Minister Stephen Harper, there was more riding on Sunday's hockey game than just national pride in his favourite sport.

There was also a case of Molson Canadian.

Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama each wagered a case of beer on the outcome of the Olympic men's hockey final. Now that Canada has won, Obama owes Harper a case of Canadian. If the U.S. had won, Harper would have owed Obama a case of Yuengling beer.

Harper congratulated the Canadian men’s team in the locker room after the game, his press secretary Dimitri Soudas said in an email.

“We’re really proud of you all. You’ve done a great job on behalf of the country, not just this gold, which we all wanted so bad, but 14 gold, an Olympic record for any country in the Winter Olympics. Congratulations,” Harper told the team.

Both leaders chose symbolic brews. Molson is North America's oldest brewery, founded in 1786 by John Molson. Molson Canadian is also an official supplier to the Vancouver Olympics and is known for its TV ads that play up

nationalism over Canadian favourites like hockey, winter, and summers at the cottage. The company merged with U.S.-owned Coors in 2005.

Yuengling is the oldest brewery in the U.S. and was founded in Pennsylvania in 1829.

Soudas made his own bet with his U.S. counterpart, Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs. The two had initially bet on the women's final when Canada beat the U.S. 2-0. Gibbs was to wear a Canadian hockey jersey for the first 15 minutes of a media briefing, but Soudas and Gibbs decided to go another round over the men's gold medal game. The men's team win confirms Gibbs will have to don the red and white sweater.

“Well. I've always thought that the colours of red, white and....That's it. Just red and white bring out the colour of Robert's eyes,” Soudas said in the e-mail.

“I'll be sending Robert a Team Canada jersey to remember and cherish for the rest of his life the closest friendship between any two countries in the world.”

laura.payton@sunmedia.ca

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