Who is Tim Peel, the former NHL referee once again causing a stir on social media?

Tim Peel, the former NHL referee whose career ended early over a hot-mic incident in 2021, got into it with some prominent hockey media figures this week.

If you've had the fortune (or misfortune) of being anywhere near Hockey Twitter — now known as social platform "X" — the past few days, you've likely noticed former referee Tim Peel going at it with some prominent NHL media figures.

The latest drama started with an early-Tuesday morning tweet from the retired official, who called out Sportsnet reporter Mark Spector for what the former felt was an "idiotic question" directed at Oilers captain Connor McDavid after Edmonton's loss 5-3 loss to the Panthers.

Peel then shared the private messages between him and Spector to his "X" account, much to the dismay of Daily Faceoff reporter and president of the Professional Hockey Writers Association Frank Seravalli, who blasted Peel over the situation.

It's definitely not Peel's first time mixing it up and causing a stir online, but who exactly is Tim Peel and why is he all over your timeline?

It's been an interesting few years for the former NHL official, to say the least.

That infamous, career-ending hot mic incident

Though he was always a fairly popular name in hockey officiating circles, Peel's name was really burned into the minds of hockey and mainstream sports fans when his decorated NHL career — which began in 1999 and included almost 1,400 regular-season games, 90 playoff appearances and stops at the 2012 All-Star Game, 2014 Olympics and 2009 and 2017 Winter Classics — ended early over a now-infamous hot mic incident in 2021.

During a game between the Predators and Red Wings that March, a broadcast "hot mic" caught Peel "game-managing" while explaining a penalty he called on Nashville forward Viktor Arvidsson to the Preds bench:

"It wasn’t much, but I wanted to get a f****** penalty against Nashville," the referee was heard uttering.

Peel had already said he would retire at season’s end but after the incident, the NHL said Peel would no longer "be working NHL games now or in the future."

It was the last NHL game that Peel ever officiated.

"Yeah, I saw that whole thing," Predators forward Matt Duchene said about the incident. “He’s a veteran ref. It was 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 part is he was talking to Forsberg in that clip, and he told our bench that, so I mean, 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 one point. Imagine that scenario. That could happen, right?"

Peel accused of "berating" teenage youth officials in 2023

In February 2023, It was reported by The Athletic that Peel, whose son was a player on a St. Louis-based youth team featuring mostly 10-year-olds, tried to barge into the dressing room occupied by 17-year-old officials Andrew Boren and Sean McGlynn after one of his son's games. Peel was apparently angry that two coaches from his son's team were ejected during the game.

Upon telling Peel that the officials room was just for officials, not parents, while trying to keep him out of their change room, Peel allegedly lost it on the pair of youth refs.

"And he goes, 'Do you know who the f— I am? You sit down and respect me. I have a couple questions.' And he just berated us. He stood in front of that door for 20 minutes. Asking questions about the game. Why we were on the game. Telling us we don’t deserve it. Telling us that he’s going to contact the assignors, and we’re never going to ref another game again," Boren said.

Boren then told the Athletic they wanted to call 911 at first but felt trapped by Peel, so he started recording a video of the confrontation instead — which is when Peel’s demeanor changed, according to McGlynn.

"He calmed down a little bit, but he still wouldn’t leave," McGlynn said.

"And then he tried to tone it down a bit. He’s like, 'I think we got off on the wrong foot.' And then he tried to introduce himself again. And we’re like, 'Just please leave.'"

Former referee Tim Peel has always been a lightning rod for NHL fans. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire)
Former referee Tim Peel has always been a lightning rod for NHL fans. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire)

Both referees told The Athletic they were concerned Peel would "attack" them, and that he stopped them from leaving the dressing room while knowing they were high-school kids.

When reached for comment by The Athletic, Peel declined to comment, but his lawyer said the former NHL ref "did nothing improper."

Peel was eventually suspended from coaching for 30 days, barred from the referees' room for two years and placed on probation for two years. Peel was not, however, barred from watching games from the stands, according to McGlynn, Boren and Missouri Ice Hockey Officials.

Suspended for boozing with former Yahoo Sports NHL writer Greg Wyshynski

In what has to be one of the stranger suspensions in officiating history, the NHL handed Peel a one-game ban in 2015 after a photo surfaced of the NHL official taking a shot of tequila in a bar with then Yahoo! Sports (now with ESPN) hockey blogger Greg Wyshynski.

Wyshynski often criticized Peel over his calls in his writing, and it was believed to be the latter who asked to meet with Wyshynski to clear the air. During their watering-hole encounter, Peel allegedly admitted to blowing some calls and went on to explain why he made — or missed — the calls in question.

After their little chat, Wyshynski wrote that, "in talking to Peel, you start to see a pattern: The NHL asks its officials to manage the game a certain way, and they have to do it.”

When asked for comment, the NHL cited league policy and refused to go any further.

Controversial post-career posts

Peel has also been extremely online during his post-officiating days, often stirring the pot with his takes on "X" and elsewhere.

The ref-turned-social media lightning rod really caused a stir during the 2022 Western Conference final when he tweeted (then deleted) "KARMA!" after Avalanche forward Nazem Kadri was injured by the Oilers' Evander Kane.

Earlier in the postseason, Kadri collided with Jordan Binnington, knocking the St. Louis Blues goalie out for the remainder of the playoffs. Shortly after, Peel tweeted (then deleted) the following in regards to Kadri:

"Nazem Kari (sic) bringing up Craig Berube in the postgame new (sic) conference shows me why he was shipped out of Toronto. It’s all about him and not the team!"

Peel's post was referencing the Blues head coach initially saying "no comment" in regards to racist threats being hurled on social media toward Kadri.

The 56-year-old also made headlines in March 2022, when he tweeted he had "zero respect" for Mark Scheifele following the Winnipeg Jets star's antics in a game against the Montreal Canadiens.

What he's up to now

Aside from allegedly lecturing youth officials from time-to-time and stirring the pot on social media, Peel does IT staffing for Genoa Employment Solutions, according to his LinkedIn page, and lives in the St. Louis area where's he's very involved in the youth hockey scene.

The former official hosts a hockey podcast with former NHL star Jeremy Roenick called "SNIPES & STRIPES." Peel also runs an annual hockey referee camp that raises money for a local scholarship fund, according to The Athletic.