Referee Tim Peel will no longer officiate NHL games, according to a release from the National Hockey League.
“Nothing is more important than ensuring the integrity of our game,” said Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell. “Tim Peel’s conduct is in direct contradiction to the adherence to that cornerstone principle that we demand of our officials and that our fans, players, coaches and all those associated with our game expect and deserve. There is no justification for his comments, no matter the context or his intention, and the National Hockey League will take any and all steps necessary to protect the integrity our game.”
The action comes after Peel’s comments were unintentionally broadcast via hot mic with 12:42 to go in the second period of Tuesday’s game between the Nashville Predators and Detroit Red Wings. The broadcast audio captured the veteran referee speaking privately to his on-ice partner, Kelly Sutherland, saying, “It wasn’t much, but I wanted to get a ******* penalty against Nashville early.”
The previous penalty call, made by Peel, was a tripping call on Nashville’s Viktor Arvidsson.
Penalties for the game were nearly even, with each team whistled for three infractions. Nashville also picked up an automatic minor penalty for delay of game for shooting the puck over the glass.
Nashville’s Matt Duchene discussed the incident on ESPN 102.5 The Game:
“The crazy part is [Peel] was talking to Fil Forsberg in that clip, and he told our bench that. Really bizarre.”
“I just think that can’t happen. Imagine the scenario where they score on that power play, we lose the game and we miss the playoffs by a point. Imagine that scenario. That can happen, right? That is not out of the realm of possibility.”
“I don’t think there’s a place in hockey for [make-up calls]. You’ve got to call the game. I’ve always been frustrated when I see even-up calls. If a team’s earning power plays you can’t punish them because the other team is not.
“That call is not a good call on [Arvidsson]. That wasn’t even close to a penalty. That was bizarre. I hope that’s not something that goes on with more officials, but there’s definitely nights when you’re skeptical of it, for sure.”
Preds head coach John Hynes also commented on the situation after his team’s 2-0 win.
“I think the situation is what it is. From our perspective, it probably doesn’t matter how I feel about it, in general; but the referees are employees of the league, and rather than me comment, I think it’s an issue that the league will have to take care of.”
Peel, 53, is scheduled to retire at the end of the 2020-21 season; his final game was slated for April 24.
The veteran referee made his NHL debut in 1999, working a game between the Colorado Avalanche and Ottawa Senators. He’s gone on to officiate 1,361 regular season games along with 90 playoff matches. Peel donned the armbands for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and the 2012 NHL All-Star Game.