Calgary Flames head coach Bill Peters is under investigation by the NHL and the club after allegations surfaced that used racial slurs when talking with a player 10 years ago.
As of Tuesday morning, the Flames had made no decision about the coach’s job status, Canadian outlet TSN reported. Peters wasn’t on the ice during practice.
Flames general manager Brad Treliving issued a statement following Monday’s game, a 3-2 overtime loss to the Penguins in Pittsburgh.
“Through social media, we became aware of this issue during the game this evening. We take these matters very seriously. We want to complete a full and proper investigation before we provide any further comments on the matter.”
The NHL also released a statement.
“The behavior that has been alleged is repugnant and unacceptable,” the NHL statement said. “We will have no further comment until we have had an opportunity to look into the matter more thoroughly.”
Peters, in his second season coaching the Flames, didn’t hold a postgame news conference Monday night.
On Monday, free agent Akim Aliu detailed on social media how he was the target of racially charged language from an unnamed person when he played for the Rockford Ice Hogs of the American Hockey League in the 2009-10 season. In an interview with TSN published Tuesday, Aliu confirmed he was speaking about Peters.
Aliu, who was born in Nigeria but played junior hockey in Canada, said he was 20 in the 2009-10 season and in charge of selecting the Ice Hogs’ locker room music. Peters didn’t like his hip-hop choices, Aliu said.
“He walked in before a morning pre-game skate and said ‘Hey Akim, I’m sick of you playing that n——- s—-,’ “ Aliu told TSN, with Peters, who was then the Ice Hogs head coach, referring to Aliu’s selection of hip-hop music. “He said ‘I’m sick of hearing this n——-s f——— other n——-s in the ass stuff.’
“He then walked out like nothing ever happened. 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.”
TSN reported that two of Aliu’s teammates in Rockford confirmed that Peters made the alleged comments.
Aliu said he didn’t speak up earlier in public because he was afraid.
“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.”
Now 30, Aliu was picked by the Chicago Blackhawks with the 56th overall pick of the 2007 NHL Draft. The club traded the forward in June 2010.
He has appeared in seven NHL games, all with Calgary, and scored two goals and one assist.
Peters, 54, was the head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes (2014-18) before moving on to the Flames. A local product from the Alberta province, he has a 61-37-11 record with the Flames.
Overall, his record as an NHL head coach is 198-175-64.