The NHL effectively fired Tim Peel on Wednesday morning after the referee was the subject of controversy Tuesday night in Nashville.
Peel was one of the referees for the Predators’ game against the Detroit Red Wings. During a stoppage of play midway through the second period, the broadcast picked up Peel on a hot microphone saying “I wanted to get a (expletive) penalty against Nashville early.”
(Obviously, not all referee exchanges are created equally.)
Unsurprisingly, that remark came shortly after Peele called Nashville forward Viktor Arvidsson for tripping.
The NHL wasted no time in announcing Peel won’t be working NHL games now or in the future.
“Nothing is more inmportant than ensuring the integrity of our game,” NHL senior executive vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell said in a statement. “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 of our game.”
That’s all well and good, but as Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman pointed out, Peel is retiring at the end of the season. So, while Peel doesn’t get to go out on his own, this isn’t like they banished him for 10 years.
What’s alarming about the entire incident is Peel only was disciplined because he was caught on the hot mic. Obviously, had that not happened, he’d continue to referee games with this apparent approach to his job. Who knows how prevalent this mindset is among NHL referees, but that seed of doubt is a dangerous thing for any sports league, which is why the NHL had to act fast and relatively swift.