The NHL announced Wednesday that referee Tim Peel will no longer officiate NHL games following a comment he made that was picked up by a microphone during Tuesday's game between the Detroit Red Wings and Nashville Predators.
NHL executive vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell released the following statement on the matter:
According to ESPN's Greg Wyshynski, Peel penalized Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson for tripping Red Wings defenseman Jon Merrill during the second period of Tuesday's contest despite the fact that it looked like Merrill dove.
Following the call, Peel was heard on the broadcast saying: "It wasn't much, but I wanted to get a f--king penalty against Nashville early."
Sportsnet producer Matt Best posted audio of Peel's comment on Twitter during Tuesday's game (Warning: Some language NSFW):
Matt Best @bestofmatt
Maybe if you're a mic'd up ref, you shouldn't express how you wanted to call a penalty against a team earlier in the game, changing how you ref the rest of the game. "It wasn't much but I wanted to get a fuckin' penalty against Nashville early in the..." #Preds #LGRW https://t.co/6fZImkdqLr
Nashville went on to win 2-0 and was called for four penalties overall in the game, while the Red Wings were whistled for three penalties.
Wyshynski noted that the NHL said it was "taking a look at" Peel's comment. Ultimately, the decision was made to remove Peel from all future games.
In 2015, the NHL suspended Peel for one game, reportedly due to a photo Wyshynski tweeted of himself and Peel at a bar together, per CBC's Doug Harrison.
Wyshynski, who was a blogger for Yahoo Sports at the time, wrote about his meeting with Peel, and noted that Peel was candid about some of the questionable calls he had made in the past.
Specifically, Wyshynski wrote that he asked Peel about a call he made against Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin around that time, which saw Ovechkin get called concurrently for roughing and holding.
Peel allegedly said he felt the NHL wanted him to make the call for "game management" so that a "one-sided affair between two rivals didn't get out of control."
Now, six years later, Peel's NHL officiating career has come to an end after over 1,300 regular-season games and 90 playoff games officiated since his NHL debut in 1999.
Among the 53-year-old Peel's most notable accomplishments during his time as a referee are working the 2012 NHL All-Star Game, two Winter Classic games and the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.