In their inaugural season, the Coachella Valley Firebirds have a chance to lift themselves — and the region’s delicious dates and grapes — to glory in Game 7 against the Hershey Bears on Wednesday. Or will they melt down like chocolate left out on a desert day?
Pardon the food puns, but the buildup to the conclusion of the Calder Cup Finals on Wednesday night at Acrisure Arena has put the teams’ local cuisines in the spotlight.
A couple weeks ago, the Firebirds organization playfully encouraged their fans to boycott chocolate until the end of the finals. The two hockey teams also agreed to a charity initiative — called the Calder Cup Community Challenge — in which the losing side will donate $10,000 donation to a charity of the winner's choice.
Now, local politicians want to jump in the action. This week, Riverside County Supervisor V. Manuel Perez announced a friendly bet with the commissioners from Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, where Hershey is located, in which the Game 7 winner will have a day proclaimed in their honor by those cross-country jurisdictions.
In addition, the county representatives have agreed to send each other some local delicacies. From the Coachella Valley, Perez offered “the finest” grapes and dates, while the Dauphin County officials will send Hershey’s chocolate products.
“I am really proud of all the players, the fans who have supported our team and have achieved attendance records for the league as a whole, and all those behind the vision of bringing professional hockey and a state-of-the-art Arena to our backyard, the heart of the desert, unincorporated Thousand Palms,” Perez said in a statement. “With that, let’s go Firebirds, let’s win this at home!”
This isn’t the first time Pennsylvania’s chocolate products have been involved in a friendly political wager. During the 2010 National League Championship Series between the San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies, Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi bet Ghiradelli against Hershey’s. (Pelosi's Giants won.)
Will the Firebirds keep the California streak alive? If so, I vote let’s send those Pennsylvanians a date shake to boot.
Tom Coulter covers the cities of Palm Desert, La Quinta, Rancho Mirage and Indian Wells. Reach him at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: It's Coachella Valley dates vs. Hershey bars: Bet rides on Firebirds