Calgary Flames head coach Bill Peters won’t be behind the bench for Wednesday’s game against the Sabres in Buffalo, the team announced Tuesday night amid an investigation by the NHL and the club after allegations surfaced that he used racial slurs when talking with a player 10 years ago.
Associate coach Geoff Ward will take his place.
“Our review into the allegations from last evening continues,” said general manager Brad Treliving on Tuesday. “This is a very serious matter and we want to be thorough in our review. ... We will have no further comment until our review is complete.”
Peters wasn’t on the ice during practice on Tuesday and didn’t meet with reporters following Monday’s game, a 3-2 overtime loss to the Penguins in Pittsburgh.
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 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.”
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 before Peters’ arrival, and scored two goals and one assist.
Also on Tuesday, former Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Michael Jordan alleged that he and other players were physically abused during Peters’ stint as coach there from 2014-18.
“Never wish anything bad to the person but you get what you deserve Bill,” Jordan wrote in a series of tweets. “After years making it to the NHL had experience with the worst coach ever by far. Kicking me and punching other player to the head during the game then pretending like nothing happened ... couldn’t believe my eyes what can happen in the best league. happy that I dont have to go thrue that stuff on daily basics anymore.”
Jordan then told TSN’s Frank Servalli that Peters had kicked him and hit another defenseman in the head during a game.
Peters, 54, was the head coach of the 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.
—Field Level Media