Calgary Flames head coach Bill Peters on Wednesday issued a statement to team general manager Brad Treliving apologizing for his racial comments directed at former player Akim Aliu, who played for Peters with the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs in 2009-10.
On Thursday morning, Aliu called Peters’ statement “misleading, insincere and concerning” in a statement of his own.
Aliu — who alleges that Peters told him “Hey, Akim, I’m sick of you playing that n— s—,’” in reference to the then 20-year-old Aliu’s choice to play hip-hop music in the locker room — said he has accepted an invitation from the NHL to discuss the situation. Aliu also said he will not comment publicly again until after that meeting occurs.
Peters reportedly traveled separately from the Flames after the team’s game against the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday separately from the team. He was not behind Calgary’s bench on Thursday — associate coach Geoff Ward acted as head coach for the game.
The 53-year-old coach said in his statement that he spoke out in a “moment of frustration” and that it does not reflect his personal values.
“I have regretted the incident since it happened, and I now also apologize to anyone negatively affected by my words,” Peters wrote. “I am aware that there is no excuse for language that is offensive.
“I meant no disrespect in what I said, and it was not directed at anyone in particular,” he continued. “But, that doesn’t matter; it was hurtful and demeaning. I am truly sorry. I accept the reality of my actions.”
Peters did not address former Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Michal Jordan’s allegations of physical abuse in his statement — incidents that the current head coach in Carolina, Rod Brind’Amour, confirmed on Wednesday.
Ex-NHL player Jiri Tlusty about Bill Peters:
“He’s arrogant. Wish players don’t have to meet that man again. He’s not going to change. There were more stuff like that in Carolina. Kicking into Michal Jordan’s back? That’s acting like a rat.”#Flames @Canes @Dreamer_Aliu78
— Robert Rampa (@RampaRobert15) November 28, 2019
“The way the players handled it and the support staff handled it [was to] bring it to management right away,” Brind’Amour told reporters. “Management handled it correctly and [we] never heard of it again. Never saw anything else after that. It was definitely dealt with in my opinion correctly. That’s not something we talk about… We’ve definitely moved past that.”
The Flames’ investigation into Peters’ conduct is ongoing.