Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Passion Of The Arrested

Well, I'm a little embarrassed for the residents of Manitoba in general because stories like these just make everyone look like they're a little crazy. We all know how excited they get when being mentioned as a destination for an NHL franchise, but sometimes there are people who just take things a little too far in their love affair with the NHL. Now, this story is over a year old, but it was never publicized by the RCMP, and that was probably the best course of action in this case. Why it was published today? No clue, but the story seems almost a little unbelievable.

Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press reported today that a man from Lundar, Manitoba called the RCMP 911 line with demands that the NHL return to Winnipeg. I'm not making this one up.

WINNIPEG — At least one local hockey fan thinks it’s criminal the Winnipeg Jets haven’t returned home.

A 33-year-old resident of Lundar, Manitoba is facing numerous charges after allegedly making a series of 911 calls which included demanding RCMP officers somehow bring the National Hockey League back to the province.

"He began the conversation by saying he wanted the Jets back. He was quite upset about it," a justice source told the Free Press on Wednesday. The incident occurred last year but was never reported publicly by police. The Free Press uncovered details this week through court documents.

The potential return of the NHL has been a hot topic in recent years, with many believing it’s a matter of when, not if, Winnipeg gets a team back. And while the subject usually triggers passionate debate, this is believed to be the first time it has ever prompted police action.

The emergency dispatcher politely told the angry caller there was nothing she could do to help him and reminded him that he was tying up a valuable resource before hanging up. But the man continued to phone back, claiming he had a lot on his mind.

"He had apparently been drinking and told police he hadn’t slept in days. He started talking about world conglomerates, things like that. He was hallucinating, obviously," said the source.

The final straw came when the man began insulting the 911 operator, eventually calling her a crude name. She warned him that his number had been traced and police were being sent out to arrest him.

"If you’re coming to get me, can you bring me some smokes," was his reply.

Police arrested the man without incident and have charged him with public mischief, false messages, harassing phone calls and obstructing justice. Lawyers are expected to request a psychiatric evaluation when the case returns to Lundar court on Thursday. It’s possible the charges could be dropped if doctors believe the man has mental health issues which impacted his actions.

The accused has been receiving medical treatment since his arrest and has been free on bail without incident. He has no prior criminal record.
While I appreciate the passion that this man has, there are a few things that he doesn't understand. I'd like to clear these misconceptions up.
  1. While it seems that the Winnipeg Jets were stolen from the fans in Winnipeg, the truth is that they were sold. Because they were not stolen, the RCMP shouldn't really be called. And, just to put this in perspective, this call came about 14 years too late.
  2. By stating, "If you’re coming to get me, can you bring me some smokes", the man apparently thinks that the RCMP is a delivery service. The RCMP cannot bring you smokes for one very good reason: Tim Hortons does not sell cigarettes. DISCLAIMER: for my American readers, that's a cop-donut joke.
  3. No sleep + plenty of drinks = drunken phone calls. The worst place to call? The 911 service. They do not take kindly to passionate "dirty talk" from strangers. You want a 1-900 number for that. I can understand the confusion if he was drunk-dialing.
All in all, it's slightly embarrassing for citizens in Manitoba. They are entirely passionate about the Jets and NHL hockey, but incidents like this are not good for the overall perception of Manitobans.

My advice? Have a laugh, give us a break, and enjoy a double-double and a jelly donut, eh?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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