Sports-Loving President Forces Ice Hockey On His Poor Desert Nation

This man is Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, and he is the president of Turkmenistan. He is wearing this ridiculous ice hockey jersey because he demanded that his country's sports-minded officials build an ice hockey arena in the capital city of Ashgabat, and when you win reelection with 97 percent of the vote, people basically do what you say.

The thing about Turkmenistan, though, is that it's hot. Really hot. Here's how the folks at Lonely Planet describe the heat:

Turkmenistan is the hottest country in Central Asia, although its dry desert climate means that it's not always uncomfortably warm. That said, only the insane or deeply unfortunate find themselves in Ashgabat in July and August, when the temperature can push 50°C (122°F).

What's more is that Berdymukhamedov demanded not just an ice hockey area be built but that a league of teams be formed. How the government ministries in charge of this effort plan to actually populate these rosters remains to be seen, outside of signing up their own staffers, but we're talking about a country that banned alcohol during its annual "Week of Health and Happiness," so good luck recruiting actual hockey players with that kind of sales pitch.

[BBC]