It is generally not a good thing when everyone knows a referee’s name, and a whole lot of people know the name Tim Peel.
The former NHL referee was gearing up for retirement at the end of the 2021 season when a misgiving on the ice heard around the hockey world cut his career a few weeks short.
You’ll remember back in late March that Peel made a soft tripping call on then-Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson in Nashville’s game against the Detroit Red Wings. A hot mic incident followed.
“I wanted to get a (expletive) penalty against Nashville early,” Peel said, which everyone at home heard.
Of course, that is a direct admission that he was looking to make calls against the Predators, and the NHL swiftly released a statement condemning Peel. The league proceeded to fire him about a month before he was set to retire.
And that was the last we heard from Peel, up until this week. He has a new gig with Daily Face-Off as a rules analyst, and he explained the ordeal on the “DFO Rundown.”
“When I threw my arm up I was in the neutral zone, and I honestly thought that Arvidsson tripped him, but as soon as I threw my arm up, I thought, ‘Gee, he pushed him down.’ I didn’t see it the way I thought that I saw it,” Peel said, “And I was working with a veteran referee in Kelly Sutherland who is one of the best in the NHL, and I think it was more my defense mechanism when I went over to the box, because we take a lot of pride in the penalty set we call, to make sure we call good NHL penalties. And there’s nothing worse than calling a week penalty against a team, and the other team scores on the power play. So, I think it was my defense mechanism, more of an embarrassment thing, to a guy that I really respected a lot in Kelly Sutherland.”
Of course, Peel made the wrong play there, and he would’ve been better off just being honest and getting it wrong then more or less saying he was targeting the Predators.
It is water under the bridge now, but nonetheless something that caused a black eye for the league.