Calgary Flames coach Bill Peters is in trouble with his front office, and possibly the NHL after some alleged racial slurs. More will be known once an investigation into Peters is wrapped up, but, in the meantime, the Flames are going to have to carry on without him motivating them from behind the bench.
Flames Coach Steps Down After Racial Slurs
Peters was ordered to step down by GM Brad Treliving for at least one game, tonight’s match against the Buffalo Sabres, after allegations of a “serious nature” surfaced that he used racial slurs in talking to a former player.
Treliving acknowledged the investigation yesterday, asserting that the team does not have any plans to fire Peters at this time. He indicated that the Flames’ front office is looking long and hard at what may, or may not, have transpired between the coach and Akim Aliu, who played for Peters one season with the AHL affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks, the Rockford IceHogs.
Aliu broke the news (albeit ten years later) Monday, stating, “Not very surprising the things we’re hearing about Babcock. Apple doesn’t fall far from the Tree, same sort of deal with his protege in YYC. Dropped the N bomb several times towards me in the dressing room in my rookie year because he didn’t like my choice of music.”
His reference to Babcock targeted Mike Babcock, the Toronto Maple Leafs coach who was just fired for intimidating younger players. Babcock was also the college coach of Peters and the head coach of the Detroit Red Wings when Peters was the team’s assistant coach from 2011 to 2014.
Aliu confirmed his treatment to TSN yesterday, providing a little more detail. He said that he was thrown racial slurs and curse words, but was too scared to confront the now Flames coach. He added, “What am I going to say? I was 20 years old and a first-year pro. I was too scared to speak up. I beat myself up every day over it.”
The Blackhawks have weighed in, as well, and are prepared to assist in an investigation in any way they can. The team said in a statement yesterday, “The alleged actions by a former coach toward Akim Aliu while with the Rockford IceHogs are something we take seriously. The purported incident had not been reported or brought to our attention prior to yesterday and had no effect on any player personnel decision regarding Mr. Aliu.”
Peters’ antics were apparently not reserved only for Aliu. After social media started seeing chatter about his actions and his temporary removal, others weighed in, including Michal Jordan. He said that Peters is probably getting what he deserved and that he was “the worst coach ever by far.” He alleges that Peters kicked him and punched another player in the head during a game, and then acted as if nothing had happened.
A coach who previously worked for Peters stepped in and confirmed that what Jordan was saying is true. Rod Brind’Amour, who is now the coach for the Carolina Hurricanes, stated, “If you’re talking about the incident with Bill, it for sure happened, the two issues that are in question. But it’s what happened after is what I’m proud about. How the players handled it and how the sports staff handled it. They brought it [to] management right away and management handled it directly, and we never heard of it again and never saw anything else after that. So it was dealt with in my opinion, correctly.”
Flames associate coach Geoff Ward will stand in tonight against the Sabres after the racial slurs incident is investigated. However, no one should be surprised if his interim position were extended. Based on what has already been stated about Peters, the smart money is on the Flames deciding to part ways with him in the very near future.