WCHA suspends college hockey referee charged in airport security scareThe Western Collegiate Hockey Association has suspended one of its referees indefinitely after he was charged with making terroristic threats and disorderly conduct for allegedly causing a security scare at an Alaska airport.
By: News Tribune staff, Associated Press
The Western Collegiate Hockey Association has suspended one of its referees indefinitely after he was charged with making terroristic threats and disorderly conduct for allegedly causing a security scare at an Alaska airport.
Peter Friesema was arrested early Sunday by police at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport after allegedly prompting an evacuation of the main terminal by making comments about a bomb, which he later said were jokes.
The Anchorage Daily News said he is a college hockey referee from Colorado who was in town to officiate games at a tournament hosted by Alaska Anchorage. Friesema is a referee with the WCHA and has officiated several Minnesota Duluth games in recent years.
Airport manager John Parrott said Friesema was jailed at the Anchorage Correctional Complex with bail set at $5,000. The Anchorage Daily News reported that Friesema pleaded not guilty to the charges Sunday; a judge ordered him to remain in Alaska.
On Monday, the WCHA said in a statement that Friesema had been "suspended indefinitely from his officiating duties with the league pending a review" of the incident.
The Anchorage Daily News, citing court documents, reported that Friesema was at the airport late Saturday when he noticed a ticket agent placed his ID sticker on a friend's luggage as it went down a conveyor belt. The agent told him it didn't matter because the bags were going to the same destination, the paper reported. Then Friesema reportedly asked the agent something along the lines of, "but what if my friend's bag has a bomb in it?"
Joke or not, the comment prompted an evacuation of the terminal and caused flights to be delayed. The evacuation happened early Sunday a little after midnight. The terminal was reopened about three hours later after it became clear there was no threat.