The NHL has fired referee Tim Peel, after he was caught on a hot mic saying he "wanted to" call a penalty against the Nashville Predators.
Peel, 53, officiated the team's 2-0 victory over the visiting Detroit Red Wings at the Bridgestone Arena, when he called Nashville forward Viktor Arvidsson for a tripping penalty on Detroit defenseman Jon Merrill.
According to multiple outlets, he was then caught saying on a rink-side TV microphone, "It wasn't much, but I wanted to get a f—— penalty against Nashville early."
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The league took swift action, releasing a statement Thursday, announcing that Peel will "no longer will be working NHL games now or in the future."
"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."
Campbell continued, "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."
The Predators ended up scoring one of two power plays, as their penalties led to three power plays for the Red Wings, which they failed to convert to advantages.
When asked about the comment, Nashville coach John Hynes offered a diplomatic response: "But the referees are employees of the league and rather than me comment on it, it's an issue that I think the league will have to take care of."
Peel refereed his first NHL game in 1999, and he's since officiated 1,343 regular season games, as well as 90 playoff games, as of February 1.
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