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Bet spices delicacies with civic pride

Published May 26, 2004

TAMPA - After she became mayor, Pam Iorio told herself:

"I better figure out this hockey thing."

She started attending games with her family.

"This is fun," she thought, after her first game.

Soon, she was learning about penalties.

Once, sitting next to her teenage son, she thought she saw a fight on the ice, maybe something major. "It looks to me like they punched that guy," she said.

"No, no, mom, it's not that bad," he explained.

Tuesday, Iorio went from amateur spectator to NHL gambler. Iorio bet the mayor of Calgary that the Lightning will defeat the Flames in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup finals that began Tuesday night.

If the Lightning win, Iorio will get three cases of Big Rock Beer, which comes from a Calgary brewery; one dozen packages of Spolumbo sausages; and one 2-pound box of Bernard Callebaut chocolates, another Calgary brand. If the Flames win, Calgary's mayor will get a box of cigars made in Ybor City, a platter of guava pastry and a crate of Florida oranges.

"Will you be actually squeezing that orange juice yourself?" Mayor Dave Bronconnier asked during a conference call Tuesday.

"No, you will be getting this basket," Iorio said.

Iorio planned to watch Tuesday's game from the St. Petersburg Times luxury suite, at the invitation of Paul Tash, the newspaper's CEO and editor.

Don't worry - I paid," Iorio told reporters.

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