NHL referee Tim Peel banned after hot-mic comment

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NHL referee Tim Peel has been banned from working games “now or in the future” after being heard on a hot mic saying he "wanted to get" a penalty against the Nashville Predators.

Long-time NHL official Tim Peel made a penalty call from around center ice with 15:04 left in the second period when Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson was called for tripping Red Wings defenseman Jon Merrill in the offensive zone.

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. Replays showed Arvidsson made contact with the back of Jon Merrill’s right leg but the penalty call was questionable since the Red Wings defenseman appeared to embellish the fall.

During the second period with 12:42 remaining the Nashville broadcast captured audio from Peel saying "it wasn't much, but I wanted to get a f---ing penalty against Nashville early," before his microphone was cut off."

Nothing is more important than ensuring the integrity of our game," Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell announced in a statement from the league. "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."

Nashville coach John Hynes said after the game, "I think the situation is what it is. I think from our perspective, it probably doesn't matter how I feel about it, in general; but the referees are employees of the league, and rather than me comment, I think it's an issue that the league will have to take care of."