NHL referee’s hot-mic call during Detroit Red Wings game ends his career

Detroit Free Press

A referee’s brash comments during a Detroit Red Wings game has led to him being banned from officiating NHL games.

Tim Peel was one of the officials Tuesday when the Wings played at the Nashville Predators. Early in the second period, Viktor Arvidsson was called for tripping Jon Merrill. Merrill fell on his own, but Arvidsson was sent to the penalty box. A couple minutes later, the following comment could be heard on the Predators television broadcast: “It wasn’t much, but I wanted to get a (expletive) penalty against Nashville early in the …” before audio cut out.

The league took swift action, releasing a statement by senior executive vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell on Wednesday morning announcing Peel “will no longer be working NHL games now or in the future.”

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Stunningly, Peel made the unethical comment not to one of the other officials, but to one of the Predators – to all of them, in fact.

“The crazy part is he was talking to Fil Forsberg in that clip,” Nashville center Matt Duchene said on 102.5 FM/ESPN Nashville. “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. I mean, imagine that scenario. Which, that could happen, right? That is not out of the realm of possibility.

“I don’t think there’s a place in hockey for that. You have to call the game. If one team is earning power plays, you can’t punish them because the other team is not. That call was not a good call on Arvie. We are watching and like, ‘what the heck is that?’ It was bizarre.”

The Predators won the game, 2-0. At the time of the call on Arvidsson, the only other penalty was in the first period, when Adam Erne was called for interference on Arvidsson. In total, there were three calls made against the Wings, and four against the Predators, the last of which was a delay-of-game for sending the puck over the glass.

The teams meet again Thursday at Bridgestone Arena.

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Peel, 54, had planned to retire in April.

“Nothing is more important than ensuring the integrity of our game,” Campbell said. “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.”

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from AmazonBarnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail. 

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