Late Saturday night, Freisema was returning from a UAA tournament through Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport in Anchorage. The gate agent accidentally placed Freisema's luggage sticker on his traveling companion's bag, but he was told it was no big deal since they were both headed to the same destination and because the bags were already on the belt.
Then Freisema, 44, did what we all want to do at airports, but undoubtedly know what the repercussions are for doing so; i.e., make a witty, wholly inappropriate joke at the expense of an oversensitive atmosphere.
What Friesema said next temporarily shut down the airport, forced hundreds of passengers into the cold night air, caused many to miss connections, and landed him in jail. "But my friend's bag has a bomb in it," the agent remembers him saying, according to a charging document. He recounted it to authorities slightly differently, more to the effect of "what if my friend's bag has a bomb in it?"
Either way, his comment was "perhaps an effort to be funny or flirtatious," Assistant District Attorney Adam Alexander said Sunday before Friesema made a court appearance.
("Flirtatious?" Oh dear … it's the root of all men's ill-timed jokes, isn't it?)
As a result of his quip, the airport was evacuated (!) until 3 a.m. and Friesema was charged with disorderly conduct. The Daily News reports that the FBI is considering other charges, which could include making terrorist threats; i.e., joking about a bomb and causing the evacuation of a public place.
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Friesema was ordered to remain in Alaska by a judge on Sunday, which probably doesn't bode well for upcoming officiating gigs.
Goon's World received a "no comment" from the WCHA regarding the situation, but with the story having gone national, one wonders how long the league can go without addressing it.
Hopefully this all blows over so Friesema can get back to work; and by that we mean making jokes about having viral meningitis in a crowded hospital lobby and/or about carrying a shot gun to a speech by the president.
As for hockey … how fast does the first player who chirps him with "what are you going to do, put a bomb in my bag?" get a game misconduct?
UPDATE: The WCHA has released a statement --
The Western Collegiate Hockey Association today (Oct. 15) announced that men's referee Peter Friesema has been suspended indefinitely from his officiating duties with the league pending a review of an off-ice incident that occurred at the Anchorage International Airport on Sunday, Oct. 14.
The WCHA will have no comment on this matter until all the facts have been gathered and the investigation completed.
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