UPDATE: On Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, after Canada's 1-0 victory over the US in the men's hockey semi-final Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper took to Twitter, gloating and saying he will be waiting for President Barack Obama to make good on the bet and send the two packs of beer. Canada moves on to the gold medal game on Sunday against Sweden, and the US will play Finland on Saturday for bronze.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: After waging a pack of beer for each of the US-Canada hockey match-ups at the Sochi Winter Olympics United States President Barack Obama now owes Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper a pack of beer, after Canada's women's hockey team won gold beating Team USA 3-2 in overtime on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014.
Apparently Obama will be sending Harper a 24-pack of the White House Honey Porter beer, which the Prime Minister is excited to receive. Harper has not chosen a beer to send Obama yet, optimistically hoping that Canada will be triumphant a second time. Another pack of beer is up in the air when the US and Canada's men's hockey teams meet in the semi-final on Friday, Feb. 21 at noon ET. Canada is the defending champions in both women's and men's hockey.
Harper was on the plane back to Canada from Mexico when the women's team won gold, and the Prime Minister announced the news of the victory to the plane. The Canadian team was down 2-0 until nearly the end of the game, scoring twice in the last five minutes, with the second goal obtained within the last minute of regulation forcing the game to overtime, where Canada shot the winning goal. Harper told the plane; "It was a great victory. President Obama, I'll be looking forward to my beer."
Obama and Harper made the bet during the "Three Amigo's Summit" in Toluca, Mexico this past week with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, focusing on trade and energy. The wager must have been the friendliest moment during the summit, since Harper is at odds with Obama since the American President has not yet decided to give the XL Keystone Oil Pipeline the go.
This delay is despite a State Department releasing the Environmental Impact Statement, a report on Friday, Jan. 31 stating the pipeline would not add to carbon pollution. Obama has said that only after three-month review by Secretary of State John Kerry where he will make his final recommendation will President Obama announce a decision to extend the pipeline down from Alberta, Canada through Texas. The pipeline is central to Harper's economic and energy agenda.
Obama was joking however, at the summit on Wednesday, Feb. 19 that their feud was hockey based, exclaiming; "For a very brief period of time, I may not feel as warm towards Canadians as I normally do, at least until those matches are over." While both leaders expressed according to a White House statement that they would be “watching tomorrow’s Olympic women’s hockey game and Friday’s Olympic men’s hockey game between Canada and the USA with great interest and excitement. They agreed to disagree on who to root for.”
The leaders announced their wagers on their official twitter accounts on Thursday:
— Stephen Harper (@pmharper) February 20, 2014
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 20, 2014
This is the second time Obama and Harper have bet on beer for the Olympic hockey games. The tradition started in 2010 during the Vancouver games. In that bet over the men's hockey gold game, Obama also lost and sent Harper two cases, a Molson Canadian and a Yuengling lager. Their press secretaries also partook in a bet, but theirs had greater repercussions, with then White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs losing and "forced to wear a Team Canada jersey" to his daily press briefing.
Bonnie K. Goodman is the Editor of the Academic Buzz Network, a series of political, academic & education blogs which includes History Musings: History, News & Politics. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies, both from McGill University, and has done graduate work in Jewish history at Concordia University as part of the MA in Judaic Studies program. Her specializations are US, Canadian & Israeli politics.