Peel admits hot-mic incident was 'a tremendous error in judgement'
Longtime NHL referee Tim Peel recently opened up about the incident that ended his career this past season.
During a March contest between the Nashville Predators and Detroit Red Wings, a hot mic caught Peel saying he wanted to give Nashville a penalty early in the second period. Video of Peel's comments immediately went viral, and he was fired the following day.
"I was working with a veteran referee in Kelly Sutherland, who is one of the best in the NHL, and I think it was more my defense mechanism when I went over to the box," Peel said on Daily Faceoff's DFO Rundown podcast. "We take a lot of pride in the penalties that we call to make sure we call good NHL penalties and there's nothing worse than calling a weak penalty against a team and the other team scores on the power play.
"So I think it was my defense mechanism kicking in, more of an embarrassment thing to a guy that I really respected a lot in Kelly Sutherland and I said 'yeah it wasn’t much, I wanted to get a penalty' - which wasn't the case at all. I didn’t want to get a penalty against Nashville, and I just made a mistake. I made a tremendous error in judgement by choosing the words that I did."
Peel apologized to Predators general manager David Poile and head coach John Hynes after the game, but knew he would be facing serious repercussions.
"So I hear my phone vibrating on the corner and I go pick it up and it's my boss, Steven," Peel said. "The first thing I though was 'did we miss a goal?' And he said 'we've got a bigger problem' and he tells me. I didn't even remember it until I watched it. I turned to the (other refs) in the dressing room and went 'I may get fired tonight.'"
Peel was scheduled to retire at the end of the 2020-21 campaign. His career began in 1999 and he officiated over 1,300 games.