|FORT ERIE – Looks like Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown will be wearing red, white, but no blue, next time he attends a public event in his home town.
Brown and Fort Erie Mayor Doug Martin had a “friendly” bet on this past weekend’s Canada vs. USA hockey game, hosted by the Fort Erie 1812 Bicentennial Committee.
The game, which was played at the Fort Erie Leisureplex on Saturday evening, featured current junior B and College-level players from both sides of the border.
The bet between Martin and Brown required the mayor of the losing team to wear the jersey of the winning team to his next public event.
Team Canada won the game 7-5.
Brown, who attended the game and participated in a puck-drop ceremony with Martin, has said he’ll wear the Team Canada jersey to his next charitable event.
Although he won the bet, Martin said he’s planning to wear the Team USA jersey to an upcoming town council meeting, anyway, as a sign of friendship and good sportsmanship.
“I promised to take a picture and send it to him,” Martin joked after the event, which had been dubbed the Battle of the Border.
“It was really good of him to come over and be here for the game.”
Fort Erie is the scene of the bloodiest battlefield of the War of 1812 and the stepping off point for the last American invasion of Canada in early July 1814.
Buffalo was burned during the war.
Since then, the two communities have enjoyed close relations, with rivalry mostly limited to sporting events.
More than 400 people attended Saturday’s game.
Opening ceremonies took place at 7 p.m.
After the red carpet was rolled out and players from both teams were introduced, piper Chris Lejeune led the colour guard consisting of re-enactors and members of the Royal Canadian Legion, Army Cadets, as well a contingent of RCMP officers onto the ice.
|James Medeiros from Chorus Niagara sang the national anthems, accompanied by the Legion band.
Following the anthems, Martin and Brown entered the ice, flanked by two re-enactors from Old Fort Erie.
Brown was presented a Canadian jersey by the Team Canada’s captain, Nic Passero. and
Team USA captain Kevin Larocque presented Martin with the USA sweater.
The exchange was meant to mark the peace and friendship that has existed between the two nations for the past 200 years.
“Overall it was a great game,” said organizer Brett Boake. “You could see both teams were fighting hard to make their country proud. It was great to see Canada pull through and take the win on home ice.”
Saturday night’s game was just one of a host of upcoming events being planned by the Fort Erie’s 1812 Bicentennial committee, including an 1812 fashion show, a number of public lectures and the signature event, the Grande Parade, which takes place June 23.