By now most have heard about how the US Men's Olympic Hockey has advanced to play Canada in the Semi-Finals today (21-FEB-14) at 12:00 EST.
Team USA has played well, but not without controversy during the match with Russia on 15-FEB-14, where the USA won in overtime after a goal (box score) which was disallowed by American NHL referee Brad Meier.
To be clear I am not here to dispute the call. By all accounts it was correct for the international game. I am also not here to talk about the fanaticism of the Russian fans united to "make soap" out of Meier.
My beef is actually with the supervisor of officials for the International Ice Hockey Federation, Konstantin Komissarov. Now you say, that's odd as Komissarov was front and center in defending the referees for making the correct call, and has been vocal about it since the event occurred. My issue is why Meier was even assigned in the first place.
Meier was born in the US (Ohio) and was shortly moved to Canada where he has spent his life, however has never renounced his US citizenship and holds passports for both countries, making him both a Canadian and US citizen. From this my question becomes why oh why was a US citizen assigned to a US match!?!?!
There were several other referees available to do this (list of 2014 officials here) so why even have a whiff of impropriety? Yes Meier is supremely qualified and did a nice job in the match and no I don't think he was tainted in any way, but why even risk it?
Now look what we have ... protests be damned as they are of no consequence ... we have a good referee that made the correct call who will be excluded from any future games this Olympics IMHO. Now functionally that may have been the case anyway as if either the US or Canada go through he would be excluded due to seeing them already or his citizenship, respectively. Then again, can he "turncoat" to US citizenship if Canada goes through?
My point being that I think it was actually pretty silly to assign a US Citizen to a USA match, even if that citizenship is shared with another country. It has put a fog on the USA win over Russia, will certainly have a similar effect if they medal, and most importantly to me, has an excellent referee out of the ruining at a chance to referee a medal match.