Controversial Herder winner 'unfortunate' but nothing can be done, says Hockey NL

The organization overseeing senior hockey in Newfoundland and Labrador has acknowledged the Herder-deciding goal should never have counted — but says there's nothing it can do.

In a statement released on Tuesday afternoon, Hockey NL said it cannot overturn the in-game decision of the referee in Sunday's deciding Game 5 to award a goal to the Conception Bay CeeBee Stars.

CeeBees forward Kenny King fired the puck towards — and into the net — with minutes to go in that final match.

However, video shared widely on social media appears to show the puck snuck under the bottom pipe of the net, and not through the goal line.

Hockey NL noted in their statement that the puck entered illegally.

"We wish that we never had this type of dispute, especially at a pivotal time in the series," read the statement.

"However, these decisions rest with the game officials."

The Clarenville Caribous have filed a protest on the game, which decided the Herder Memorial Trophy, but Hockey NL says protests cannot overturn a judgement call on the ice.

No video review, goal judges

The organization says it doesn't have video review or goal judges at the Herder matches, and says most amateur hockey groups across the country don't either.

"We work real hard to ensure we have quality officiating for this level of hockey and we assign our top officials to games of this magnitude," said Jack Lee, Hockey NL president, in the statement.

"However, they have to make judgments in real-time based on what they see.

Don Kelly, Hockey NL's referee-in-chief, said the officials were in the right position at the time of the call.​