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LOSER KEEPS BIEBER: Billboard Makes Fictional Bet Between U.S., Canada

By Justin Breen | February 20, 2014 12:37pm | Updated on February 20, 2014 12:46pm
 A Command Transportation sign with Team USA's Patrick Kane (r.), Justin Bieber (c.) and Canada's Jonathan Toews.
A Command Transportation sign with Team USA's Patrick Kane (r.), Justin Bieber (c.) and Canada's Jonathan Toews.
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Those words on an electronic billboard just off the Edens Expy. are sure to turn heads. The billboard, owned by Skokie-based freight broker Command Transportation, features pop star Justin Bieber sandwiched by Blackhawks stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Kane and Toews play for Team USA and Canada, who face off Friday at 11 a.m. in an Olympics men's hockey semifinal.

"It is just brilliant!" said John Cullis, president of the Canada-U.S. Business Council Chicago and a Lakeview resident.

Command Transportation owner Danny Zamost said it's the second time his company had put Bieber on its electronic billboard. In the past, the billboard has featured the Bulls' Joakim Noah spraying Heat star LeBron James with a fire extinguisher and Bears quarterback Jay Cutler smoking a cigarette.

"We try to keep this low-key," said another executive, who wished to remain anonymous. "We just have fun. We don't use the sign other than to have fun."

Last year, Bieber infamously stepped on the Blackhawks locker room logo and posed with the Stanley Cup, setting off a frenzy of angry responses on social media.

Cullis said Friday's game is "incredibly important for Canadians."

"Hockey is both the national pastime and, to a large extent, a sense of identity for Canadians," Cullis said.

At least one local bar will be playing up the rivalry. Paddy O'Fegan's Irish Pub & Restaurant, 204 N. Halsted St. in the West Loop, will be tracking the number of pints of Molson Canadian vs. Coors Light consumed during the game. Lunch will be sloppy Joes with a side of poutine, said owner Patrick Fegan, whose wife Cathy was born and raised in Canada.

"We love our hockey," Patrick Fegan said.