PITTSBURGH — Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving says the team is looking into an accusation that head coach Bill Peters directed racial slurs toward a Nigerian-born hockey player a decade ago in the minor leagues, then arranged for the player’s demotion when he complained.
Akim Aliu tweeted Monday that Peters “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.” Aliu says he “rebelled against him,” and Peters responded by asking executives to send Aliu to a lower minor league level.
The tweet did not name Peters, but referred to a “protege” of fired Toronto coach Mike Babcock’s who is now in Calgary. Babcock has been a mentor to Peters since Babcock coached him in college.
Aliu played under Peters in the Chicago Blackhawks system with the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League during the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons. He was demoted to the Toledo Walleye of the ECHL during the 2009-10 season. Aliu, who was born in Africa but raised in Ukraine and Canada, later played seven NHL games over two seasons with Calgary.
Peters is in his second full season as the Flames’ coach.
Treliving made a statement to reporters moments after Calgary lost to Pittsburgh 2-1 in overtime Monday. He says the team is “aware of a tweet from former player Akim Aliu,” but he had not spoken yet with Peters or others in the organization. He says the Flames “take these matters very, very seriously” and “we will address it and get back to you people once we have a chance to speak internally.”
Peters was not made available to speak with reporters after the game.
More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
The Associated Press