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Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Chicago Blackhawks or Florida Citrus vs. Chicago Deep Dish

There’s more than a championship trophy at stake in the fight for the Stanley Cup. Thanks to a few friendly wagers, Florida’s citrus is now on the line.

With the Tampa Bay Lightning taking on the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Finals, U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross and fellow members of Congress wagered iconic home state goods in a friendly bet against Illinois colleagues. St. Petersburg Bishop Robert Lynch and Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich did the same.

Should the Tampa Bay Lightning lose (editor’s note: Go Bolts!), Rep. Ross will send Florida Orange Juice to Chicago and Bishop Lynch will donate Florida Grapefruit to the St. Leo Campus for Veterans in Chicago.

If the Blackhawks lose, Florida will be the recipient of Chicago’s signature deep-dish pizza and Portillo’s Italian Beef.

Rep. Ross, a Lakeland native who represents Floridians living in the heart of citrus country, is already planning the celebration.

“The only thing sweeter than my wager of Florida’s fresh squeezed orange juice and Ybor City cigars will be the massive victory parade and celebration back home when the Tampa Bay Lightning win the Stanley Cup,” said Rep. Ross. “As the song goes, ‘if you don’t believe me, just watch!’  I look forward to a great series. Go Bolts!”

It should come as no surprise that Florida Citrus is offered up in a bet of this caliber. As the state’s signature crop, Florida Citrus is valued at $10.7 billion and employs more than 62,000 people.

Plus, Florida provides more than half of the nation’s orange juice, which means that even if the Blackhawks lose, they’ll still be able to drown their sorrows in some Florida Orange Juice.