Players weigh in on NHL's controversial decision to fire referee Tim Peel

Thomas Williams
·Hockey writer
·5-min read

Long-time NHL referee Tim Peel was caught on a live microphone during Tuesday’s game between the Nashville Predators and Detroit Red Wings admitting to calling a make-up penalty.

The 53-year-old official was then briskly fired roughly 12 hours after the accident took place.

“Nothing is more important than ensuring the integrity of our game,” NHL senior executive vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell said in a press release.

The most dramatic firing of the 2020-21 season yet led to several players giving their opinion on the matter. One player who was no doubt directly involved with the event was Predators forward Matt Duchene, who spoke with the media about the ordeal.

Via ESPN 102.5:

"He's a veteran ref," Duchene said. "It's his last year anyway so I think that's maybe why they let him go rather than maybe suspending him or fining him. The crazy thing is he was talking to Filip Forsberg in that clip and he told our bench that. Really bizarre. I just think that can't happen.

"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 could happen," Duchene continued. "That is not out of the realm of possibility. I don't think there's a place in hockey for that. You gotta call the game. I've always been frustrated when I see even-up calls or something like that. If one team is earning power plays you can't punish them because the other team is not.

"That call was not a good call on [Arvidsson]. We were watching and were like 'what the heck was that, that wasn't even close to a penalty.' It was bizarre. I hope that's not something that goes on with most officials, but there's definitely nights when you're skeptical of it for sure.”

Tim Peel was swiftly fired after a hot mic incident in Tuesday's Predators-Red Wings game. (Photo by Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Tim Peel was swiftly fired after a hot-mic incident in Tuesday's Predators-Red Wings game. (Photo by Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Even retired official Kerry Fraser was asked for his opinion on what went down.

“There are so many hot mics around in a rink now that officials can't have any sort of private conversation, because somebody's always listening,” Fraser told The Athletic. “As an officiating crew, and ever since we've gone to the two-referee system, there's times in a game when the two referees consult with one another about the flow of the game, the requirements that each game needs. No two games are alike. The good referees — the great referees — have a feel for the game."

More current and former players took to social media to weigh in on the NHL's decision, which has garnered some mixed reactions.

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