The NHL has announced that referee Tim Peel will no longer be working league games, “now or in the future.”
The 53-year-old was officiating Tuesday’s game between the Nashville Predators and Detroit Red Wings. Kelly Sutherland was the other referee.
A video surfaced in which an official appeared to comment about an “even up” call against the Predators.
On the game broadcast, a voice says “It wasn’t much, but I wanted to get a (expletive) penalty against Nashville early in the…” before the audio cuts out.
Shortly before the comment was heard, Predators winger Viktor Arvidsson was called for a tripping penalty.
While it was not immediately clear who was making the comment, the league’s action today obviously points to Peel as the culprit.
“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,” said the NHL’s senior executive vice-president of hockey operations Colin Campbell in a statement. “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 league obviously has to send a message here and they are intent on striking the right tone.
Peel was expected to retire on April 24 after officiating over 1,300 regular season games.
Naturally, everyone has opinions about officiating and “even up” calls in the first place. Most are aware these sorts of refereeing decisions are made from time to time as part of a commitment to “game management,” but the NHL has to
appear to come down hard on any kind of revelation regardless.
With about a month to go before retirement, dropping the hammer on Peel isn’t all that perilous.
The Predators won the Tuesday game by a final score of 2-0.
Pic: Icon Sportswire