OLRB Blows the Whistle on Ex-ref Dean Warren
After an unsuccessful complaint to the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB), Dean Warren is about to face off in the courtroom with NHL principle disciplinarian Colin Campbell.
Warren was recently appointed an executive member of the NHL Officials Association (NHLOA), after many years as a referee. He believes his union support cost him his job, and he is taking the gloves off to get it back.
The Star reports that Warren claims the Labour Board’s Brian McLean unlawfully discounted key testimony from witnesses that strengthened his case. McLean said that the testimony of two witnesses, Kerry Fraser and Dan Marouelli, came off as “rehearsed and unnatural”. Their testimony was dismissed on the basis that they were being motivated by their personal resentment of the manner in which they were “forcibly” retired.
Another key piece of undervalued evidence was a letter written by Brian Murphy, President of NHLOA, requesting that League Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly reinstate Warren because of years of performance as a top-ranked official.
Colin Campbell was not called to testify. Warren’s lawyer believes that McLean came to unfounded conclusions about Campbell’s justification being “work-related”, especially given the controversy he has garnered in the media for his criticism of officials in the past. Campbell has been criticized for being outraged by calls made against his son who plays for the Boston Bruins.
With referees and opinions divided on the matter, you have got to wonder if Campbell’s testimony will hold up in court. When it comes down to it, this case will not depend upon whether or not Warren can prove that he was fired for union advocacy. Putting aside Campbell’s personal feelings, he will have to prove that Warren’s performance merited dismissal, which could be difficult, given the support Warren has from other key officials.
Who is better suited to referee the referee – Colin Campbell or the court of law?