An off-ice official-in-training was responsible for a miscommunication that led to Carolina Hurricanes forward Vincent Trocheck‘s goal incorrectly counting in a 6-5 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday.
The NHL was still reviewing the play while assessing the Blue Jackets’ offside challenge when things suddenly went awry.
“The video technician is just supposed to coordinate this upstairs (at press level),” NHL executive vice president and director of hockey operations Colin Campbell told The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline. “They’re not supposed to get involved. They’re just supposed to set up things. We do the communicating with the (officials).
“We sent the first video (clip) for the linesmen to review – we’re looking at them, too, in Toronto – and we hear a voice on the line say, ‘He’s onside. That’s a good goal.’ He said it twice. The linesmen (Jonny Murray and Tyson Baker) heard that, took off the headsets and stepped away so they could make the call.”
Referee Ghislain Hebert then announced the goal and handed Columbus a minor penalty for the failed challenge.
The linesmen had not yet seen the angle that clearly showed Trocheck was offside. The NHL tried to get the on-ice officials back on their headsets, but the equipment had to be cleaned immediately after use in accordance with the league’s COVID-19 protocol.
Trocheck’s goal gave the Hurricanes a 4-3 lead late in the second period. During the second intermission, Campbell apologized to Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen for the error but said the league would not reverse it because it hadn’t previously done so in similar situations.
“We were talking in the referee’s room (during the second intermission) with (NHL official Chris) Rooney. I told him I’d like to take the goal back, but we’ve never had a situation where we’ve taken a goal back after play had resumed like that.
“I told Jarmo I wished we could strike the goal, but there’s no precedent for that,” Campbell added.
The individual responsible for the gaffe is being trained at Nationwide Arena in Columbus as a video coordinator whose job is simply to facilitate communication between the NHL’s hockey operations department and the on-ice officials during reviews.
Campbell acknowledged the video coordinator shouldn’t have intervened but said the individual now understands and feels terrible about what he did.
The longtime executive said in the future, the NHL would like to be able to halt play directly from the control room rather than having to get the attention of the on-ice officials. Campbell also said the league would evaluate the video coordinator position going forward.