Update: WCHA suspends referee after arrest for allegedly making bomb comment at airport

WCHA referee Pete Friesema was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct early Sunday after he allegedly talked about a bomb at a ticket counter at Anchorage International Airport, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

Friesema, 44, pleaded not guilty at a hearing later Sunday, the newspaper reported. He was ordered to stay in Alaska; he is from Colorado and told the judge that he could lose his career if not allowed to return home, the newspaper reported.

The WCHA announced Monday afternoon that it had suspended Friesema indefinitely pending a review of the incident, and that it would have no further comment until the investigation has been completed.

The incident prompted a temporary shutdown of the airport.

Friesema worked two games at the Kendall Hockey Classic in Anchorage over the weekend, including a Canisus-Alaska game that started at 4:05 p.m. local time on Saturday.

According to police documents obtained by the Anchorage Daily News, Friesema and a traveling companion were checking in for an Alaska Airlines flight late Saturday night when Friesema pointed out to the ticket agent that he put the sticker for his luggage on his friend’s bag.

The agent reportedly told Friesema that it didn’t matter because they were both going to the same destination.

The agent told authorities that Friesema said, “But my friend’s bag has a bomb in it.” Friesema told officers his reply was, “What if my friend’s bag has a bomb in it?”

“He did something that in this day and age a teenager would know better than to do,” John Parrott, the Anchorage airport manager, told the newspaper.

Friesema’s next court hearing is scheduled for Nov. 26, according to the newspaper, which added that the FBI and state officials are evaluating the incident for possible additional charges.