Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving told reporters on Tuesday that head coach Bill Peters has not been fired, but an investigation is underway into racist comments he allegedly made to a player he coached with the AHL Rockford IceHogs — a Chicago Blackhawks affiliate — during the 2009-10 season.
Treliving said he was made aware of Akim Aliu’s tweet accusing Peters of “drop[ping] the N bomb several times towards me in the dressing room” during the Flames’ loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday.
“This is a subject matter that has no place in our organization and so the magnitude and the serious nature that we take this allegation is very high,” the GM told reporters after Calgary’s practice.
Flames assistant coach Geoff Ward ran the team’s practice in Buffalo on Tuesday, sparking widespread speculation that Peters had been relieved of his duties. As Aliu shared a more detailed account of his incident with Peters, Treliving said the head coach remained at the team’s hotel while an investigation continues.
“We hope to have this completed quickly, but it’s got to be thorough,” Treliving told reporters. “It’s got to be thorough and it’s got to be done correctly and I’m not about to comment on anything halfway through or give tidbits or give soundbites at this point other than to say the serious nature of this is not lost on us. We take it with extreme seriousness and until such time as I personally can talk to all parties involved and everybody we want to as part of this, we’re not going to comment.”
The Flames GM said he had spoken at length to both Peters and Aliu as well as other players on that IceHogs team and Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman about the situation, but declined to comment further “until such time that I can put everything together.”
Treliving called the allegations against Peters “repulsive” and asserted the onus is on him to find out what took place. The Flames GM added that Calgary is currently handling the investigation, not the NHL and that he did not know whether the coach would be behind the bench for Wednesday’s game against the Sabres.
“If it comes out that he did do this what’s the next step — I’m not going to speculate,” Treliving said. “My sole purpose here is to find out what’s taken place, get the facts and do that as quickly as possible, but as thorough as possible. And that’s what we’re going to do.”
Peters earned his first NHL head coaching job with the Carolina Hurricanes franchise for the 2014-15 season and remained there for four years before Treliving hired him to coach the Flames in April 2018.