NHL bans referee after he said he 'wanted' to call penalty in Red Wings-Predators game

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

The NHL on Wednesday said referee Tim Peel will no longer officiate games after Peel's comments caught on a microphone during Tuesday's Red Wings' game against Nashville.

The NHL quickly looked into Peel's comments during Tuesday's game that he "wanted" to call a penalty on the Predators.

Tim Peel's career as an NHL referee is over after his voice was picked up by a TV microphone saying he wanted to call a penalty against the Nashville Predators.

Peel called Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson for tripping at 4:56 of the second period, a call questioned immediately by broadcasters and people on social media.

Caught on a microphone, Peel said, “it wasn’t much but I wanted to get a (expletive) penalty against Nashville early in the …” as the audio cut out.

Colin Campbell, NHL senior executive vice president of hockey operations, said Wednesday Peel no longer will be working NHL games now or in the future. The Associated Press reports the 54-year-old Peel already had made plans to retire next month.

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

Arvidsson was mystified as he was called — and the Nashville broadcasting team went as far as speculating Wings’ defenseman Jon Merrill was being called for embellishment.

Red Wings broadcasters Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond sounded confused about the call, watching from the Fox Sports Detroit studio.

Nashville killed the penalty and went on to defeat the Red Wings, 2-0.

The NHL immediately began investigating the incident after the game.

Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill and forward Dylan Larkin were not asked during a Zoom interview after the game about the incident.

The Wings have an official day off Wednesday.

Nashville coach John Hynes said he expected the NHL to take care of the matter.

“The big thing is this: You always want to have things that are going to be fair and for your team,” said Hynes when asked about the referee’s comments. “It probably doesn’t matter how I feel about it in general, but the referees are employees of the league. Rather than me comment, I think it’s an issue that I think the league will have to take care of.”


Twitter: @tkulfan