Peterborough politicians keep on collecting on Peterborough Petes bets

A bet is a bet: London city hall to fly Petes flag; warden will sport team jersey as part of friendly wagers.

By Brendan Burke Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Mayor Jeff Leal wears the jersey he wore in the official Petes playoff video during the Peterborough Petes OHL championship celebration at Quaker Foods City Square on Charlotte Street on Monday, May 22, 2023 in Peterborough, Ont. The Petes are headed to Kamloops, B.C. to compete in the 2023 Memorial Cup as OHL champions. London City Hall will be flying the Petes flag after a bet made by Leal.CLIFFORD SKARSTEDT / EXAMINER

It’s safe to bet that there won’t be too many maroon and white jerseys spotted in London after the Petes defeated the Knights on Sunday, claiming the 2023 OHL Championship Series.

But there will be at least one Petes jersey worn in the city.

Cathy Burghardt-Jesson, warden of Middlesex County, will don a Petes jersey as part of her bet with Peterborough County Warden Bonnie Clark.

The challenge, proposed by Clark at the beginning of the finals, was accepted by Burghardt-Jesson. The two agreed that the losing side must also send a gift basket filled with locally sourced items to the winning community, where it will be raffled off.

“My counterpart at Middlesex County is very involved in promoting and organizing in the hockey community and I thought she would appreciate this opportunity to promote excellence in hockey in both of our communities,” Clark told The Examiner.

Clark was among the 500-plus fans who gathered at Quaker Foods City Square in downtown Peterborough on Victoria Day following the Petes’ 2-1 win.

In a speech that congratulated the Petes organization, Clark said she was preparing to mail a jersey to her Middlesex County counterpart.

Clark was joined by Peterborough—Kawartha MPP Dave Smith and MP Michelle Ferreri — two elected officials who also participated in a series of friendly wagers during the Petes’ landmark playoff run.

After striking a deal with Smith, Jamie West, NDP MPP for Sudbury, was the first to wear Peterborough’s historic team colours in the Ontario Legislature after the Petes swept the Wolves in the first round.

When the Peterborough Petes took on the Ottawa 67’s in round two, Smith challenged three Ottawa-area MPPs: Goldie Ghamari from Carleton, John Fraser of Ottawa South and Joel Harden from Ottawa Centre. All three sported maroon and white during question period following the Petes’ 4-2 series win.

Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli was next to wear the jersey after the North Bay Battalion fell to the Petes in the Eastern Conference Championship Series.

For the finals, Smith challenged Terrence Kernaghan of London North Centre and Rob Flack from Elgin Middlesex London.

“When we return on Monday, I will seek unanimous consent prior to question period for (Flack) to wear my maroon and white Home jersey and for (Kernaghan) to wear my white and maroon away jersey,” Smith said.

Smith plans to keep the bets rolling as the Petes vie for the Memorial Cup in Kamloops, B.C., starting Saturday, up against the Quebec Remparts, the Seattle Thunderbirds and the Kamloops Blazers.

“I have reached out to Sol Zanetti from Quebec City, Que., Peter Milobar from Kamloops, B.C. and Senator Karen Keiser from Washington State to ask if they would be interested in the same friendly wager to wear jerseys in our respective legislatures,” he said.

Following the Petes win on Sunday, Ferreri took to social media to challenge Kamloops MP Frank Caputo.

“Bring it on,” replied Caputo, who gave a shout out the host Kamloops Blazers.

It’s Ferreri’s latest playoff callout.

Viviane Lapointe, MP for Sudbury, made good on her promise to wear a Petes jersey after the Wolves first round loss.

Earlier this month, Nipissing MP Anthony Rota lost a jersey bet with Ferreri, becoming another rival-turned-fan for a day when North Bay was defeated by Peterborough.

Ferreri says the winning team has brought the community together,

“I think the fans are the real winners in all of this, they believed, they showed up, didn’t give up, and neither did the players.”

Peterborough Mayor Jeff Leal has also joined the fun.

Josh Morgan, London’s mayor, will keep his end of the bargain by recording a video wishing the Petes good luck. A Petes flag will also be flown at London’s city hall on Saturday, when the Petes face off against the Seattle Thunderbirds for their first Memorial Cup game.

Brendan Burke is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative.

Peterborough politicians keep on collecting on Peterborough Petes bets (