Akim Aliu Says Flames HC Bill Peters Used Racial Slurs, NHL Investigating

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistNovember 26, 2019

Calgary Flames head coach Bill Peters watches his team practice in Beijing, China, Monday, Sept. 17, 2018. The Flames faced off against the Boston Bruins in southern Chinese city of Shenzhen on Saturday and will play the Bruins again in Beijing on Wednesday in the 2018 NHL China Games. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Mark Schiefelbein/Associated Press

The NHL is investigating allegations by former Calgary Flames winger Akim Aliu that head coach Bill Peters directed racial slurs toward him.

Aliu said on Twitter Peters "dropped the N bomb several times" in the locker room when he was a rookie with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2008-09.

Akim Aliu @Dreamer_Aliu78

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. First one to

Akim Aliu @Dreamer_Aliu78

admit I rebelled against him. Wouldn’t you? And instead of remedying the situation, he wrote a letter to John McDonough and Stan Bowman to have me sent down to the ECHL. 20 year old on pace for 20 goals in his first pro year with zero PP/PK time was off to a great start in his

Aliu later spoke to Frank Seravalli of TSN and gave more details on Peters' alleged comments in reference to Aliu's choice of hip hop:  

"He walked in before a morning pre-game skate and said 'Hey Akim, I'm sick of you playing that n----r s--t.' He said 'I'm sick of hearing this n----rs f--king other n----rs 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."

Seravalli spoke to Simon Pepin and Peter MacArthur, who were Aliu's teammates at the time, and they corroborated Aliu's comments.

The NHL issued a statement about the situation: "The behavior that has been alleged is repugnant and unacceptable. We will have no further comment until we have had an opportunity to look into the matter more thoroughly."

Per the John Wawrow of the Associated Press, Flames general manager Brad Treliving said the team is also looking into the accusations against Peters.

"We're aware of a tweet from former player Akim Aliu," Treliving said in a statement. "And obviously, we're playing, so I haven't had the chance to sit down with Bill or our people internally to talk about this and get to the bottom of it. We take these matters very, very seriously."

Treliving later told reporters Peters "has not been relieved of his duties," adding that he wants an investigation done quickly, but "it has to be thorough."

Aliu was originally drafted by the Blackhawks in 2007, but played in the Ontario Hockey League and American Hockey League for the next year before signing a three-year NHL contract in Aug. 2008.

Peters was head coach of the Blackhawks' AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs, when Aliu played for them in 2008-09 and 2009-10. Aliu had 17 points in 48 games for Rockford during the 2009-10 season before being demoted to the ECHL.

The Flames hired Peters to become their head coach in April 2018. He spent the previous four seasons in the same role with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Aliu made his NHL debut with the Flames in April 2012. He played seven games with the organization over two seasons from 2012-13.

Currently an unrestricted free agent, Aliu spent last season in the ECHL with the Orlando Solar Bears.