Tim Peel incident presents the NHL with an opportunity

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The National Hockey League acted swiftly, sending veteran referee Tim Peel into early retirement on Wednesday just hours after a hot microphone inadvertently broadcast his desire to make a penalty call against the Predators in Nashville on Tuesday night.

Peel could be heard explaining why he whistled Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson for tripping in the second period.

“It wasn’t much, but I wanted to get a [bleeping] penalty against Nashville early in the …,” Peel said on the television broadcast, before the audio cut out.

The league responded by declaring Peel will “no longer work NHL games now or in the future,” according to senior vice-president of hockey operations Colin Campbell.

Peel, 53, was scheduled to work his final game on April 24 in his hometown of St. Louis, the conclusion of a 26-year NHL career that saw him call 1,361 regular season and 90 Stanley Cup playoff games, plus the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.