NHL referee banned after being caught saying he was targeting one team

Referee Tim Peel drops the puck for the opening faceoff between Nashville Predators and Detroit Red Wings
Peel has refereed more than 1,300 NHL and 90 Stanley Cup play-off games

An ice hockey referee has been banned by the NHL after being caught on a microphone saying he wanted to call a penalty against one of the teams he was officiating.

Tim Peel was wearing a microphone during the Nashville Predators' win over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday.

After giving a questionable tripping decision against a Predators player, Peel was heard saying, "It wasn't much, but I wanted to get a penalty against Nashville early" before his microphone was cut off.

"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," said an NHL statement.

Peel, 54, who has refereed over 1,300 NHL games, was due to retire at the end of the season in April.

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