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Tim Peel will no longer ref NHL games after hot mic incident

Bob McKenzie discusses how Tim Peel will no longer referee NHL games after he said he wanted to give a penalty to Nashville early against Detroit, while also analyzing what this means for officiating going forward.

Referee Tim Peel will no longer work games “now or in the future,” according to the NHL following comments caught on a hot mic during Tuesday’s Predators-Red Wings game.

Early in the second period of the Predators’ 2-0 win, one of the officials was heard saying he “wanted to get a f------ penalty against Nashville early.” The voice was determined to be Peel’s, and immediately after the game the NHL said it was investigating the incident.

“Nothing is more important than ensuring the integrity of our game,” said NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell. “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.”

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Viktor Arvidsson of the Predators was called for a tripping minor just before the comments were made. When the game ended, Nashville had been penalized four times to Detroit’s three.

“He told our bench that, so I mean, really bizarre. I just think it can’t happen,” Matt Duchene told the ‘Robby & Rexrode’ show on ESPN 102.5 Wednesday. “Imagine the scenario where they score on that power play, we lose the game and we miss the playoffs by a point. Imagine that scenario. That can happen, right? That can happen based on — that’s not out of the realm of possibility. I don’t think there’s a place in hockey for that. You’ve got to call the game. I’ve always been frustrated when I see even-up calls.”

Peel’s NHL officiating career began in Oct. 1999 and he reached the 1,000-games milestone in Nov. 2015. He’s been a part of two outdoor games, 90 Stanley Cup playoff games, and the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

According to TSN’s Frank Seravalli, Peel was set to retire after this season with his final game scheduled for April 24.


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.