Referee Tim Peel will not work on another NHL game after being caught saying he “wanted to give” the Nashville Predators a penalty in their win over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night.
NHL senior executive vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell made the announcement Wednesday morning, saying Peel “would no longer be working on NHL games now or in the future.”
Peel, 53, was due to retire after this season. He has been an NHL ice official since October 1999 and had refereed 1,334 games this season.
“Nothing is more important than ensuring the integrity of our game,” Campbell said. “Tim Peel’s conduct is in direct contradiction to adherence to that fundamental 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 your comments, no matter what. the context or its intent, and the National Hockey League will take any and all steps necessary to protect the integrity of our game. “
With 15:04 remaining in the second period, Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson was called up for tripping Red Wings defender Jon Merrill in the offensive zone, though replays showed Merrill embellishing his fall to help. to get attention. Peel made the penalty call from the center of the ice.
With 12:42 remaining in the second period, the Nashville broadcast captured audio of Peel saying “it wasn’t much, but I wanted to get a goddamn penalty against Nashville early.”
The NHL told ESPN after the game that it had opened an investigation into Peel’s comments.
Nashville won the game 2-0. Both teams received three penalties, and the Predators took a quarter for putting the puck on the glass in the third period.
Nashville coach John Hynes was asked about the hot mic after the game. “I think the situation is what it is,” he said. “I think from our perspective, it probably doesn’t matter how I feel about it in general, but the umpires are employees of the league, and more than I comment, I think it’s an issue that the league will have to address.”
Hynes said that “you always want to have things that are fair for your players and for your team” but that there are no excuses. “We have to find a way to eliminate the penalty and control what we can control.”
Peel has been one of the most maligned officials in the NHL, and fans have used social media to criticize his calls over the years. In 2015, Peel was pulled from officiating at a home game for the New Jersey Devils after being photographed in a bar drinking with a reporter. [Editor’s note: The reporter was ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski, the writer of this piece.]