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Colin Campbell’s Emails

Tyler Dellow of Mudcrutch Hockey wrote a wonderful piece about Colin Campbell, the NHL vice president in charge of discipline and suspensions, who wrote some questionable emails.  These emails came to light as a result of the labor relations case for referee Dean Warren’s dismissal by the league.  Tyler did a very good job of filling in some of the blanks and putting things in context and it doesn’t make Colin Campbell look good.

The main idea behind the lawsuit was that Campbell moved to fire Rick Warren when he became an executive in the NHL Officials Association (NHLOA) and threatened to stand in the way of some of the league’s plans.

The league claims that Dean Warren was a mediocre referee.

This lawsuit makes the NHL look bad, but frankly I was never that impressed by Dean Warren as a referee.  He never stood out to me either positively or negatively in games I saw him in.  That is partly due to the two referee system.  Neither referee has the impact of the game that they once did when they were the lone ref in the game.  The vast majority of referees no longer make significant impacts in any given game.  Thus I don’t blame Dean Warren for not making much of an impact, few referees do anymore.  His lack of much impact in my mind probably means that he wasn’t so horrible.

The story that has caught on is not the lawsuit itself but the emails released.  There are emails where Colin Campbell argues against calls made on his son Gregory Campbell, then of the Florida Panthers.

Re: Penalty
11/#/2007 10:48 PM
Colin Campbell to Stephen Walkom

Did you find out anything? It was [another referee] that made the call. Keep Warren and gas this *#$%@&. 90 seconds left and he calls a weak penalty.tripping. Makes me sick. If I was at the game I would have had to fine me.

There was an attempt to scrub dates, so that it is hard to figure out exactly what events are discussed, but Tyler did a great job to undo that effort and finds that it was a Florida-Atlanta game where Gregory Campbell was penalized late.  It looks bad when Colin Campbell, who is supposed to be impartial in his position working with the league, his advocating for his son and threatening to fire referees for penalizing him.

The advocating for and against players does not stop with Campbell’s own son.  There is this email:

To Stephen Walkom/Tor/NHL@NHL
Subject Re: Delayed Penalties/High Sticks 02/#/2007 4:24 pm

A bend in the road is a dead end if you round the corner and Dean Warren is standing there. Your answer re: his high stick calls and the score of the game were horse shit. The 3rd call on [player] was while they were down 5 on 4 and on a def zone face off vs that little fake artist [player] I had him in [city] biggest faker going. And Warren fell for it when he grabbed his face on a face off. Your supposed to see the act, not call the embellishing act. Dean Warren has to go with [referee] There must be a way to get rid of this guy. Is there a way we can tract (sic) and total minors called by referees this year. We could then get the minors they call per game. . or with 2 [referees on the ice] it is impossible? Warren and [referee] out of [club.s] games. Give them to [referees].

The “little fake artist” turns out to be Marc Savard of the Boston Bruins.  This is interesting because Savard was injured (a concussion he is not back from yet) with a headshot from Matt Cooke that Colin Campbell chose to let the incident go without a suspension.  We start to infer that the lack of suspension has more to do with Campbell’s opinion of the injured player than anything else.

The impartiality of NHL officials is important.  If the NHL vice president is advocating for some players and against others, this doesn’t seem to exist.  This makes Colin Campbell and the NHL look very bad.  Perhaps it explains some of the inconsistencies in the NHL suspension policy.  Changes need to be made to make things more transparent, probably by involving more people in decisions.

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Comments

Teebz's avatar

The former referee’s name is Dean Warren, not Rick Warren. Read what you link to, please.

Posted by Teebz on 11/17/10 at 04:25 AM ET

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.

Why am I blogging? I want to.

Why are you reading it? ???

Email: y2kfhl@hotmail.com