On July 22, 2011, Anders Behring Breivik went on a mass murdering spree in Norway. He bombed the government buildings in Oslo, killing 8, then headed to the island of Utøya, where he killed 69 people, mostly teenagers, during a camp.
For his crimes, Breivik is expected to serve up to 21 years in prison.
So what does this have to do with hockey? More than you'd think. Because Breivik is a threat to the other inmates, the Norwegian prison to which he's headed is looking to hire some "friends" to play with him when he begins his sentence next month. Apparently, it would be great if these mercenary buddies could take the shape of a hockey team. From the Telegraph:
"It could be anything from a team for indoor hockey to people who are willing to play chess with him," Knut Bjarkeid, director of the Ila prison, told Norway's Verdens Gang newspaper.
He said a "professional community" was necessary because the prison service was not willing to inflict years of isolation on Breivik (33) and he might try to take other inmates hostage, making contact with others "impossible".
As bizarre as this sounds, the initiative isn't simply borne out of some misplaced kindness.
It's illegal to keep prisoners in isolation for extended periods of time in Norway, and since Breivik is a threat to the other prisoners, the prison has no choice but to hire trained professionals to interact with him.
Still, chess I can understand. But hockey?
I think hockey can be a valuable tool for social education, but this is crazy. If Breivik can't be trusted to not take other inmates hostage, how in the flipping heck can he be trusted with a hockey stick and a gymnasium full of opponents?
The next time somebody tells you Canada takes the importance of the game a little too far, remind them that their prisons have never hired people to play hockey with their convicted mass murderers (as far as I know). Also, the next time somebody criticizes your team's General Manager, you can respond by pointing out that at least he never tried to build a team around a convicted mass murderer.
All that said, if indeed the Ila prison succeeds in hiring a team to play hockey with Breivik, Disney may be kicking themselves for withdrawing their bid to the exclusive rights of Seal Team 6. This could have been their movie. Now it'll probably be "Mighty Ducks 4."