The Calgary Flames have fired head coach Bill Peters four days after a former player came forward and claimed that the Peters directed racial epithets toward him while they were in the minors 10 years ago, according to ESPN’s Emily Kaplan.
Akim Aliu, who played for Peters in 2009-2010 for the Chicago Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate Rockford Ice Hogs, tweeted on Monday night that Peters “dropped the N bomb several times towards me in the dressing room in my rookie year because he didn’t like my choice of music.”
Peters, who was hired by the Flames this past offseason, penned a letter of apology for the incident to general manager Brad Treliving, saying that the comments were made “moment of frustration.”
“Although it was an isolated and immediately regrettable incident, I take responsibility for what I said,” Peters, 53, wrote.
Aliu says that he found Peters’ letter of apology to the Flames “misleading, insincere and concerning”, adding that he won’t comment further on the matter until he met with the NHL as part of their investigation into the incident.
“This investigation we’re doing, I know everyone wants this done immediately and the world we live in is immediate,” Treliving said. “I hope you can appreciate we’re trying to do everything we possibly can to make sure we get it right and get all the information that needs to be gotten.’
Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour, who was an assistant on Peters’s staff when the incident happened, said earlier this week that the incident “for sure happened.”
“Management handled it directly and never heard of it again and never saw anything else after that,” Brind’Amour said. “So it was definitely dealt with, in my opinion, correctly … We’ve definitely moved past that.”
A report from TSN’s Frank Seravalli, that dropped on Tuesday, included Aliu’s Rockford teammates — Simon Pepin and Peter MacArthur, who both corroborated Aliu’s account.
Aliu says that he was in charge of the music in the locker room for the morning skate and when Peters walked in he said:”I’m sick of hearing this n—–s f—ing other n—–s in the a– stuff.”
“He then walked out like nothing ever happened,” Aliu told TSN. “You could hear a pin drop in the room, everything went dead silent. I just sat down in my stall, didn’t say a word.”
“This isn’t me being bitter. I sat on this a really, really long time. It broke my heart, I think it made my career go downhill before it started,” Aliu said. “This isn’t to the degree of Kaepernick by any means, but if you play the race card, it’s most likely the end of your career.”
“What am I going to say? I was 20 years old and a first-year pro. I was too scared to speak up,” Aliu said. “I beat myself up every day over it.”