NHL referee causes uproar after kicking puck to Bruins player

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Corey Syvret made his debut as an NHL referee in 2018. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Corey Syvret made his debut as an NHL referee in 2018. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

National Hockey League officiating reached a whole new level of rage-inducing for fans on Thursday.

In the third period of a game between the Bruins and Senators, during a fairly innocuous play below the goal line, NHL referee Corey Syvret kicked the puck out of an Ottawa player’s reach and right to an incoming Boston skater.

We’ve heard of calling a game in the home team’s favour, but now they are passing the puck to them, too?

The play started when Bruins forward Curtis Lazar attempted to reverse the puck behind his own net, but it immediately hit Syvret in the skate, killing the play. Instead of trying to stay out of the action as much as possible, Syvret made a snap decision to move the puck from out of his feet.

While it could argued Syvret was just trying to nullify the contact he made with the puck by moving it in the direction it was initially heading, officials are considered part of the play and should never intentionally play the puck. Seeing an official nonchalantly pass the puck to a player with another player trying to take over possession is absolutely wild, though. A similar, albeit much more subtle, incident happened earlier this season during a game between the Rangers and Islanders.

Predictably, this did not sit well with Senators fans.

According to Scouting The Refs, Syvret has just 123 NHL games under his belt. The 33-year-old has moved quickly up the ranks since hanging up his skates as a player in 2016-17. A sixth-round pick of the Florida Panthers in 2007, Syvret played the majority of his seven-year pro career in the ECHL. Syvret made his NHL officiating debut in April 2018, only eight months after attending the NHL Scouting Officiating Combine in Buffalo, where he made a good impression on NHL director of officiating Stephen Walkom and earned a minor-league referee contract a few weeks later.

In the end, Syvret's momentary lapse of judgment didn't alter the course of the game, as the Senators maintained the 3-2 lead they were holding at the time of the transgression.

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