You Won’t Believe What Got This NHL Referee Fired

NHL Referee

You Won’t Believe What Got This NHL Referee Fired | Sports Takes & News | TooAthletic.com

The National Hockey League found itself in a lot of hot water this week when one of their on-ice referees was heard telling players on the bench that he just called a “balance the books penalty.” The referee, named Tim Peel, has been pushed into early retirement by the league, but not before he opened the conversation regarding unwritten rules and “even-up” calls during hockey games. The NHL might have removed one referee, but what will it do about the perception that the rest of the league’s arbiters have a mandate to keep the whistles balanced throughout a game? 

In Tuesday’s game between Detroit Red Wings and Nashville Predators, a penalty was called against the Red Wings in the first period. Early in the second period, Tim Peel blew his whistle and called the game’s second penalty. Afterwards he could be heard saying on an open mic rink side, “wanted to get a fucking penalty against Nashville early,” an implication that it was an “even-up” call he just made to give each team a chance to be on the power play.

By Wednesday afternoon the NHL confirmed it was Peel’s voice that was picked up by the hot mic, with the league suspending him for the rest of what was scheduled to be his last season as a referee. Therefore, firing him before he could retire.

In making the announcement, Colin Campbell, the NHL’s Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations said, “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.”

Viktor Arvidsson was the Nashville player called for the tripping penalty that prompted Peel’s comments, and on Wednesday during an interview said, “He told our bench that, so I mean, really bizarre. I just think it can’t happen … 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.”

Not only is what Tim Peel did disturbing; but what Arvidsson added the day after proves that not only was what happened commonplace, but accepted around the NHL. Like the NBA, NHL officials can completely drop the hammer on one team with their whistle, forcing them to play one-man down for long stretches of the game. 

My perception of both basketball and hockey is if/when an official makes a close or even knows they made a bad call, they will call a penalty the other way just to even things us. Based upon Peel’s comments, it sounds like the NHL demands a certain number of power plays for each team in every game, and it is up to the referees on the ice to supply the penalties to give the league and fans what they expect. The equivalent of making sure MLB pitchers walk a certain number of hitters in game or superstar NBA player don’t leave the court without two or three fouls called for and against them.

With sports wagering being as commonplace as a Wi-Fi signal nowadays, not only can referees control how games turn out, but with the right games, can control the live-action betting market with their whistle, leaving their friends, loved ones, or worst, enemies able to cash in.

It is not likely that the NHL can do anything to change the perception that fans or players have regarding “even-up” calls during games. Sadly, when something similar like this takes place during the playoffs, and you know it will, Tim Peel will come to mind as the prophet who predicted it. It will also call into question any two whistles can are heard close to each other, but in opposite directions. 

In short, Tim Peel put the NHL in hot water for the rest of the season and all the way through the playoffs; something that it sounds like the league brought upon itself, and now can’t do anything to fix.  That’s the problem with unwritten rules, sometimes they are spoken aloud. 

 


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You Won’t Believe What Got This NHL Referee Fired | TooAthletic.com

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