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Veteran referee caught on hot mic telling Panthers they're allowed to retaliate


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Brett Thomas Wills
June 9, 2024  (9:49)
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Veteran NHL referee Steve Kozari
Photo credit: Bleacher Report

Referees have a very tough job where everything they do is scrutinized with a fine-tooth comb. A referee's job is to call it as they see it, without bias on either side. Many have the belief that this is the case, until it's not.

During a hot mic and on camera moment during the Eastern Conference final between the New York Rangers and the eventual champions, Florida Panthers referee Steve Kozari is caught talking to Panthers Sam Bennett and Ranger Alex Lafrenière, and the exchange is comical yet possibly concerning depending on how you look at it.
Have a look:
It's possible and likely that the veteran official was suggesting that Bennett or Lafreniere give one back in jest, but who is to know for certain? The National Hockey League prides itself on professionalism, especially when it comes to their officiating, but as the years pass, they have consistently been called into question over their failure to protect players, blown calls, and the like.
While on the surface it does appear that the officiating does need a retool, the ones that give the most grief about it are armchair sports fans who sit at home and complain behind a computer and don't necessarily know the game or the importance of interacting with the players the way a veteran official like Kozari does.Referees have a very tough job where everything they do is scrutinized with a fine-tooth comb. A referee's job is to call it as they see it, without bias on either side. Many have the belief that this is the case, until it's not.
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Veteran referee caught on hot mic telling Panthers they're allowed to retaliate

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