Reports have recently surfaced allegedly claiming that the head coach of the Calgary Flames, Bill Peters, used racial slurs approximately 10 years ago while on a minor league hockey team. The incident occurred in the team’s locker room of the Rockford IceHogs, the AHL affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks, in which Peter said, “I’m sick of hearing this n—–s f—ing other n—–s in the a– stuff.”
In this situation Bill Peters directed the comments towards Akim Aliu and it was referring to the music that he was listening to in the dressing room. The Calgary Flames have basically forced Peters to retire as a result of this story surfacing just this past week. This was only his second year as the head coach of the of the Calgary Flames.
As Peters is out as the head coach of the Calgary Flames effective immediately, they decided to promote Geoff Ward as the interim head coach at least for the time being. Only time will tell if they decide to hire another individual to take over as the head coach of the Calgary Flames or if they choose to stick with Ward at the helm.
Reaction from the NHL:
The National Hockey League has announced that they will be meeting with all the relevant people over the upcoming week or so in order to investigate the situation. It is crazy that Aliu waited approximately 10 years to publicly explain the incident that occurred while he played minor league hockey.
This type of behavior exhibited by Peters is absolutely unacceptable, unprofessional, and obviously extremely offensive to many people. Not only did Peters lose his job, but he may have to deal with ramifications handed down by the NHL as well. I would not be surprised if he does not coach professional hockey ever again. They may decide to make an example out of him, and really make a strong statement even though this was an isolated incident.
Peters’ Coaching Record:
“Effective immediately, Bill Peters is no longer a member of the Calgary Flames organization,” says Flames general manager, Brad Treliving.
Aliu announced on Twitter Monday night that Bill 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.”
“Although it was an isolated and immediately regrettable incident, I take responsibility for what I said,” Peters explained.
“I have regretted the incident since it happened and I now also apologize to anyone negatively affected by my words,” Peters announced. “I meant no disrespect in what I said and it was not directed at anyone in particular. But that doesn’t matter. It was hurtful and demeaning. I am truly sorry.”
After the Calgary Flames organization completed a, “Thorough investigation,” Treliving stated the entire situation has been, “The most difficult thing in my career, for sure.”
“It’s been a difficult time, but we’re going to move forward,” says Treliving.
“This investigation we’re doing, I know everyone wants this done immediately and the world we live in is immediate,” Treliving exclaimed. “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.”
“Management handled it directly and never heard of it again and never saw anything else after that,” current Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour stated. “So it was definitely dealt with, in my opinion, correctly. … We’ve definitely moved past that.”
“I’m pretty upset,” Former Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos expressed. “And I have my calls in to Ronnie as well. I think he’s the one who’s going to have to tell people what he did when he found out that the coach had done these things.”
According to Aliu, Peters 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 explained. “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.”
When asked why he waited so long to come out with the news, Aliu said, “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. This isn’t to the degree of [Colin] Kaepernick by any means, but if you play the race card, it’s most likely the end of your career.”
The Chicago Blackhawks released a statement saying: “The purported incident had not been reported or brought to our attention prior to [Monday] and had no effect on any player personnel decision regarding Mr. Aliu.”
“I don’t have any comment about that, I’m just here to talk about hockey,” says associate coach, Geoff Ward who served as the Calgary Flames head coach Ward. “Everything else will be decided when everybody’s done their due diligence on it.”
“We all feel for everybody involved. It’s not a perfect situation,” Ward stated. “We’ll worry about the next step once we get through this game today.”
“All this extraneous stuff that’s going on, we’re just not even thinking about it,” Calgary Flames center Derek Ryan explained. “As professional athletes, we go through different situations throughout the year where we have to block stuff out. And we’re just trying to keep that as another one of those situations.”
“I can guarantee you every single black hockey player has been called a racial slur at some point in their career, whether it’s been younger or older,” Wayne Simmonds replied. “It’s something people don’t like to talk about because it makes them uncomfortable. In light of this coming out, hopefully this can do some good for the hockey community and shed some light on it.”
“You never want to hear things like that,” says Simmonds. “Those things are extremely discouraging for people of African descent and of color. Something like that happens to you and [the] one person that’s doing it to you controls kind of your destiny, it’s definitely something that needs to be explored. It’s extremely disheartening and I definitely feel for Akim.”
“Until I get all the info I can’t really comment on what exactly happened,” P.K. Subban expressed. “But I can tell you this right now, the first thought of it is it leaves a bitter taste in everybody’s mouth. It just doesn’t look good.”