NHL Removes Official After Admitting to Looking to Call Nashville Penalty on Hot Mic
Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Tim Peel
NHL referee Tim Peel was heard on a hot mic admitting he was looking to call a penalty against the Nashville Predators in the second period against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night.
He will no longer work NHL games, the league said.
The penalty in question came just under five minutes into the second period when Peel whistled Nashville's Viktor Arvidsson for tripping Detroit's Jon Merrill. It was the second penalty of the game, but the first on Nashville. Detroit was called for interference with 6:19 remaining in the opening period.
Below is the tripping penalty:
After calling the penalty, an official's voice can be heard on the mic which was later determined to be that of Peel's.
Note the clip below includes mature language.
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.
— Matt Best (@bestofmatt) March 24, 2021
The NHL released a statement on Wednesday morning that Peel would no longer be working games in the league "now or in the future". Peel was scheduled to retire after his final game on April 24.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 24, 2021
It's not uncommon for officials to target teams who may be complaining, and make-up calls have always been an unspoken part of sports. However, actually hearing it is saying the quiet part out loud. With legal sports betting expanding, leagues have to be proactive about handling such matters.
A study by the website FiveThiryEight.com in 2015 showed hockey referees have a tendency to be influenced by prior calls, meaning officials tend to even things out when penalties are one-sided.
The Predators won the game 2-0 as a -160 betting favorite despite being called for four penalties to Detroit's three. Nashville killed all four power plays on the night to move to 15-17-1 on the year.