In the 2018-19 post-season games, two referees that called the game between San Jose Sharks and the Vegas Golden Knights did not return to officiate the second round of NHL playoff’s due to a controversial five minute major penalty call on Vegas. The Sharks were down 3-0 at the time of the call, and by the end of the penalty the score was 4-3 in favour of the Sharks. Vegas then came back to tie the game with 47 seconds left sending it into over time. The Sharks won the game in overtime, advancing to the second round of playoffs. The five minute penalty call was not the right call. Neither referee had their arms up signalling a call initially on the play. It wasn’t until after the Sharks player was injured on the ice bleeding that the referees decided to give a five minute major penalty, not having seen the play unfold. The NHL reached out to the Knights to apologize, recognizing that it was a bad a call.
When officials make obvious bad calls when the stakes are high, like in playoffs, I agree that they shouldn’t be allowed to continue to referee more series. At that level, no mistakes that big should be made. It is only fair to the other officials competing for spots that they should move on. It is known that mistakes happen to everyone, but a mistake like this should never have happened.
Note that the two referees will continue to referee in the 2019-2020 NHL hockey season.