Tim Peel gave it his best shot, but, after league review, his shot never crossed the line.  At least, it shouldn’t have.

NHL Referee Tim Peel waves off goal

Referee Tim Peel waves off goal (Image: Clyde Caplan)

The veteran NHL official attempted a foray into social media earlier this week.  It didn’t last long.

News of his arrival spread quickly.   Some welcomed him while others warned him of the potential disaster his presence on Twitter could become.  In less than a day, his followers passed the 1,200 mark.

Ever since the league took names of the backs of officials’ jerseys, they’ve been more anonymous.  Sure, we hear the names, and we know who’s working, but it’s not the same when you see a number on their backs.  Communication is a huge part of officiating.  The NHL taking steps to improve communication between officials and the fans and media would be a huge, positive step.  It would create discussion, drive understanding behind calls and non-calls, and bring a human element to the officials that has been stripped away.  Having a ref on Twitter makes him, to the average fan, more of a person.

Unfortunately, Peel’s social celebrity status was short-lived.  The NHL-NHLOA CBA forbids officials from having have social media accounts.  The call came down from Toronto.  The play was waved off.  Peel had to pull the plug.

Less than 24 hours after the veteran zebra took a few small steps on to the savannah, he was gone.   It’s probably for the best.  The lions hadn’t found him yet.   When they did… oh boy.

At least we’ll have the Tim Peel parody account to rely on — an account of which the actual Tim Peel is apparently a fan.

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