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Miami, Denver, Vegas archbishops bet on NHL, NBA finals; stone crabs, cigars, steaks, whiskey at stake

Archbishops Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, Samuel J. Aquila of Denver and George Leo Thomas of Las Vegas are pictured in a panel photo. The three archbishops have placed a friendly wager bet on their respective teams winning the NBA finals (Miami Heat vs. Denver Nuggets) and the NHL Stanley Cup (Florida Panthers vs. Las Vegas Golden Knights). At stake are stone crabs, cigars, mafioso and bison steaks, and whiskey. (OSV News photos/Archdiocese of Denver, Ana Rodriguez-Soto, Florida Catholic, and Paul Haring)

MIAMI (OSV News) — Two teams in championship contention mean two friendly wagers between bishops, in this case Miami’s Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski and the archbishops of Las Vegas and Denver.

Archbishop Wenski is betting that the Florida Panthers will beat Las Vegas’ Golden Knights for the NHL Stanley Cup, and the Miami Heat will beat the Denver Nuggets for the NBA championship.

At stake, should the Panthers and Heat lose, are Florida stone crabs and hand-rolled Cuban cigars from Miami’s Little Havana area.

In turn, Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of Denver is offering bison steaks and whiskey if the Nuggets lose the NBA finals. The Nuggets won the first of the best-of-seven series June 1.

“In this beautiful, breezy and cool sand of South Florida, surrounded by the beautiful Caribbean-blue waters, we are offering the Archdiocese of Las Vegas native stone crabs and hand-rolled cigars from the Little Havana section of Miami which I know they would have enjoyed if we were to lose,” Archbishop Wenski said in a press release issued June 1 by the Archdiocese of Miami. “But I pray the Florida Panthers will not.”

In true Las Vegas fashion, newly elevated Archbishop George Leo Thomas — who became metropolitan of the newly created ecclesiastical province of Las Vegas May 30 — accepted Archbishop Wenski’s wager and is doubling down.

Should the Golden Knights lose their best-of-seven series to the Florida Panthers, “we are wagering not one, but two mafioso sets of steaks from the legendary Las Vegas steakhouse, The Golden Steer,” said Archbishop Thomas. “It’s always perilous to gamble with Vegas!” The NFL series begins June 3.

All three archbishops will be attending the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) spring plenary assembly June 14-16 in Orlando.

Both the Heat and Panthers began the playoffs as eighth seeds, and both have defied expectations in reaching the championship games. A win would notch the first championship for both the Nuggets and the Panthers, while the Heat — who already won three championships — would become the first No. 8 eight seed to win the finals.

Ana Rodriguez-Soto is editor of the Miami edition of the Florida Catholic, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Miami and the dioceses of Orlando, Palm Beach and Venice.

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