Referee Tim Peel will reportedly not work another NHL game after he was caught on a hot microphone saying that he wanted to penalize the Nashville Predators during a recent game against the Detroit Red Wings.
According to ESPN, Peel called Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson for tripping Red Wings defenseman Jon Merrill in the offensive zone, even though video replay seemed to show Merrill had embellished his fall to help get the call. A Predators broadcast later caught Peel saying "it wasn't much, but I wanted to get a f---ing penalty against Nashville early."
The announcement of Peel’s ban came on Wednesday, from NHL senior vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell, who said in a statement, “Nothing is more important than ensuring the integrity of our game.”
"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," the statement said.
Nashville went on to win the game, 2-0.
According to CBS Sports, the decision around Peel could lead to an overdue discussion on referee accountability for the league, in which questionable officiating decisions are often chalked up to “game management” or so-called make-up calls.
Peel has reportedly been due to retire at the end of this season, after having officiated 1,334 games prior to this season.