The Calgary Flames accepted a letter of resignation from head coach Bill Peters, general manager Brad Treliving announced Friday.
Peters’ resignation came after revelations this week that he used racial slurs a decade ago while coaching in the American Hockey League.
“Effective immediately, Bill Peters is no longer a member of the Calgary Flames organization,” Treliving said during his press conference on Friday in Calgary, Alberta.
Treliving said Peters sent the letter of resignation to the team on Friday morning.
The Flames had distanced themselves from Peters after learning of the allegations. They sent him back to Calgary ahead of Wednesday’s 3-2 road victory over the Buffalo Sabres.
Assistant coach Geoff Ward assumed head-coaching duties for that game. Ward was named interim head coach on Friday.
“It’s been a difficult time, but we’re going to move forward,” Treliving said Friday.
On Monday, former NHL player 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 AHL 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 taste in 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.”
Peters released a statement apologizing for his actions.
“I have regretted the incident since it happened, and I now also apologize to anyone negatively affected by my words,” Peters wrote in the statement.
Aliu issued a statement on Thursday saying he found Peters’ letter of apology to the Flames “misleading, insincere and concerning.” He then added that he would have no further comment until he met with the NHL as part of its investigation.
Treliving said that the team had not heard of any allegations against Peters until Aliu spoke up.
“Were we aware of any of these types of allegations? Categorically no,” Treliving said Friday. “In terms of due diligence, we do due diligence. We do a full scrub on any hire and I did speak to previous employers of Bill.”
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, Peters’ record as an NHL head coach is 198-175-64.
—Field Level Media