Colin Campbell’s e-mails give glimpse inside NHL

At the very least, Colin Campbell’s e-mail gives a glimpse

inside the workings of the NHL that is seldom seen.

The league disciplinarian comes across as very blunt in a series

of three-year-old messages to former director of officiating

Stephen Walkom, which became public last year as part of a court

case involving former referee Dean Warren. The e-mails received

heightened attention Monday after they were republished by Tyler

Dellow of mc79hockey.com.

Dellow’s research allowed him to fill in some redacted

information, including some instances in which Campbell complained

to Walkom about penalties called against his son Gregory, a former

member of the Florida Panthers who now plays for the Boston

Bruins.

The NHL was quick to defend Campbell, who has spent 12 years as

the league’s vice president of hockey operations. Deputy

commissioner Bill Daly said the tone of the e-mail came as no

surprise to those who have dealt with Campbell.

”You have to know Colie and his personality – he’s often very

direct,” Daly told The Canadian Press. ”One of the unfortunate

parts of those e-mails is they are taken out of the entire context

of discussion. Colie jokes a lot. He has a very dry sense of humor

… so a lot of things he wrote, he almost writes tongue in

cheek.

”You have to know his relationship with his audience and who

he’s talking to. That’s the problem with e-mails, it’s hard to

understand the full flavor and context just by reading them.”

Campbell uses profane language in the messages and urges Walkom

to find out if a penalty against his son late in an untelevised

game was called properly. In a subsequent e-mail, Campbell says he

would have had to fine himself had he attended the game where his

son was called for tripping – which he refers to as a ”weak

penalty” that ”makes me sick.”

In another message, Campbell referred to someone as a ”little

fake artist” who once played for him. Using that and other

information provided, Dellow deduced that the comment was about

Bruins forward Marc Savard.

In addition to handing out suspensions and fines, a major part

of Campbell’s job is watching games and handling complaints from

general managers. His duties are suspended when there are incidents

involving the Bruins.

”He has no official role whatsoever when it comes to games in

which his son his playing,” Daly said. ”He’s not in charge of

supplementary discipline for any of those things and he obviously

doesn’t communicate directly with anybody involved in those games,

including the officials.”

Campbell’s e-mails first appeared in court documents from

Warren’s appeal to the Ontario National Relations Board last year

over what he thought was a wrongful dismissal. That appeal was

denied in October.

Daly said Dellow’s research was accurate ”for the most part,”

but indicated the league was well aware of the e-mails and sees no

cause for concern.

”None of this is new to us,” said Daly.

Dellow is a lawyer who blogs about hockey in his spare time. The

heavy traffic generated by Monday’s story caused his website to

crash.