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Campbell: No agenda against Warren

NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell spoke out in a radio interview about Dean Warren and how the...

NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell spoke out in a radio interview about Dean Warren and how the league handles bad calls by referees. (CRAIG ROBERTSON/QMI Agency)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:11 PM ET

If Colin Campbell has any regrets about controversial e-mails he wrote concerning the disciplining of former NHL referee Dean Warren, it’s that they were made public.

“Your e-mails are personal, you thought. But they’re not dishonest,” the NHL disciplinarian said Monday during a radio interview. “If I knew the world would be reading my e-mails, I might have wrote them differently.”

Campbell was on Toronto’s The Fan 590 to explain the now-infamous e-mails he exchanged with former director of officiating Stephen Walkom that were submitted as evidence in a legal dispute involving the firing of Warren in 2007.

“I have no regrets (firing Warren). We did everything right,” he said. “Dean just couldn’t make it as a referee. There was nothing personal. We had no agendas against him. He just had a problem officiating.”

As for the allegations that the NHL showed bias against Warren after he became a vice president of the NHL Officials Association, Campbell insisted the former referee’s union activity wasn’t a factor in any of his decisions.

“Any conversation (Walkom) and I had over three or four years, there was no talk of union activities,” he said. “I didn’t know (Warren) was on the union executive.”

The 12-year NHL executive also shed light on how the league handles complaints about its referees and what is done if corrective action is needed. All matters, Campbell said, are handled by the director of officiating, who deliberates with his own team of managers, all of whom are veteran linesmen and referees.

If the group thinks a bad penalty call has been made or one is missed, they will meet with the offending referee and go over video of the incident in question. The referee has a chance to explain himself, and the issue is discussed at length.

“The idea is to make them better,” Campbell said.

If action is to be taken against a referee, such as being pulled off an assignment, the decision is made by the director of officiating. All Campbell says he does is sign off on it.

When it comes to reviewing incidents involving his son, Boston Bruins forward Gregory Campbell, Colin says he tries to separate himself from them.

“Any supplemental discipline rulings, any video reviews, I was out of it,” he said.

In the e-mails between Campbell and Walkom, however, blogger Tyler Dellow of www.mc79hockey.com revealed that the two men did in fact have a conversation involving a call against Gregory, then a member of the Florida Panthers, in a game against the Atlanta Thrashers.

Campbell brushed it off, saying all he was doing was asking Walkom to look into it.

“(Thrashers GM) Don Wadell in Atlanta came about the penalty,” Campbell said. “I asked (Walkom) to look at it. That’s all I did. Was there pressure felt, exerted or influenced on a referee? Not at all.”

But he admitted it wasn’t smart sending an e-mail about his son.

“It was the wrong thing to do to write an e-mail like that.”


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