NHL bans referee Tim Peel after comment caught on hot mic


GLENDALE, AZ – DECEMBER 17: Referre Tim Peel talks with NHL officials in Toronto as they review Brad Richards #19 of the New York Rangers goal in the final second during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on December 17, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Rangers defeated the Coyotes 3-2. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

NASHVILLE (Reuters) — The National Hockey League said on Wednesday referee Tim Peel has been banned from working games “now or in the future” after being caught on microphone saying he was looking to call a penalty against the Nashville Predators.

The comments made by Peel during Tuesday’s game between hosts Nashville and Detroit were delivered shortly after he called a tripping penalty on Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson early in the second period.

Arvidsson’s left foot did make contact with the back of Jon Merrill’s right leg but replays confirmed the penalty call was indeed a questionable one since the Red Wings defenseman appeared to embellish the fall.

“It wasn’t much, but I wanted to get a (expletive) penalty against Nashville early,” Peel said a few minutes later before the TV broadcast went to commercial.

The 54-year-old Peel, who was scheduled to referee his final game in late April, has worked over 1,300 NHL regular season games and 90 playoff games.

The NHL said nothing is more important than ensuring the integrity of the game and that Peel’s conduct is in direct contradiction to the adherence to that cornerstone principle demanded of officials.

“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,” said NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell.

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