NHL referee Tim Peel is heading for a (slightly) early retirement.
The long-time NHL referee was caught in an unfortunate hot-mic moment on Tuesday night, leading to pretty swift action from the NHL offices. The league announced on Tuesday that Peel’s services would no longer be needed on the ice.
MORE: NHL COVID-19 case tracker
The NHL’s statement in full:
Nothing is more important than ensuring the integrity of our game. 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.
Peel was scheduled to ref his last game on April 24, meaning the NHL did, in fact, give Peel an early exit from the league after more than 1,300 regular-season games officiated and 90 more in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Peel was removed indefinitely and not fired, which is important to note, meaning Peel will still be paid and receive his pension after retirement.
While some fans were distraught with Peel’s unfiltered on-ice comments, others were more understanding of the situation. Here’s why:
What did Tim Peel say?
During Tuesday night’s Red Wings-Predators matchup, Peel was caught on a hot mic saying that he wanted to call a penalty on Nashville before the broadcast cut to commercial.
(Warning: Video contains NSFW language.)
“It wasn’t much but I wanted to get a f—ing penalty against Nashville early in the —,” Peel says before the broadcast cuts away.
Part of the understanding of the video is the situation: Speculation deems that Peel was supposedly aiming for a makeup call in favor of the Red Wings, as referees are wont to do in sports.
I personally would have considered mentioning in the statement that the NHL intends to address the issue of make-up calls with the entirety of its officiating crew so that it doesn’t exist anymore. Tim Peel just got caught saying out loud what many officials think all the time.
— Arpon Basu (@ArponBasu) March 24, 2021
look I dislike Tim Peel’s reffing as much as the next gal, but you cannot tell me you’re gonna make this man the scapegoat for something every official does just because he was dumb enough to say it out loud
— Hannah Stuart (@HockeywthHannah) March 24, 2021
There’s more to the NHL firing Tim Peel than “heard him say he wanted to get a make-up call on a team once.” The league has officiating issues, and refs attempts at “game management” are part of the problem. But the league knows it happens (encourages it?), so just smells off.
— Justin Bourne (@jtbourne) March 24, 2021
The incident that got Tim Peel canned. According to @ScoutingTheRefs he’s officiated 1,334 regular season and 90 playoff games.
I know we all thought this sort of thing happened but having proof of it is no small thing. https://t.co/9bSaAZUQOf
— Steve “Dangle” Glynn (@Steve_Dangle) March 24, 2021
Others still were critical of Peel’s seeming vocal admission of wanting to administer a makeup call.
In any case, Peel is out and the NHL still has a big ol’ officiating mess on its hands.