Flames coach Bill Peters quits; accused of slurs, abuse
By John Wawrow and Stephen Whyno
Bill Peters resigned as coach of the Calgary Flames after it was disclosed he directed racist slurs at a Nigerian-born player in the minors a decade ago and kicked and punched players behind the bench during his recent time with Carolina.
General manager Brad Treliving said he received a resignation letter from Peters on Friday that wraps up a weeklong investigation into the veteran coach’s behavior. He refused to discuss whether Peters would continue to be paid, saying only, “He’s no longer with the organization.”
“We consider the matter closed,” Treliving said at a news conference in Calgary, Alberta. “It’s been a difficult time. But we are going to move forward.”
Peters did not immediately respond to a text. He was in the second season of a three-year contract.
Assistant Geoff Ward takes over as interim coach with the Flames 12-12-4 and in ninth place in the Western Conference.
Peters has not been on the ice or behind the bench with his team since former player Akim Aliu leveled the accusations of racist slurs Monday night on Twitter.
Treliving said he had been in communication with the NHL this week. The league said Friday its review is ongoing and is scheduled to meet with Aliu and others in the coming days.
Peters went from helping the Flames win 50 games and the Pacific Division title in his first season to perhaps having his career and future in the sport come to an abrupt end over questions about his coaching methods.
Asked if he thought Peters
would coach hockey again, Treliving said he’d rather not speculate.
The allegations about Peters began during Calgary’s 2-1 overtime loss at Pittsburgh on Monday.
Aliu alleged 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.” It happened during the 2009-10 season while the two were with the Chicago Blackhawks’ top minor league affiliate in Rockford, Illinois.
“That type of behavior just has no place,” Treliving said Friday.
The allegations led to stern rebukes from team officials and the NHL even before they concluded their investigations.
Treliving called the allegations “repulsive” and said, “This is subject matter that has no place in our organization.” The NHL called the alleged behavior “repugnant and unacceptable.”
In a letter addressed to Treliving on Wednesday, Peters said he regretted such conduct and apologized to anyone harmed by it. Aliu called Peters’ statement “misleading, insincere and concerning.”
Also this week, Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour confirmed Peters physically abused his players behind the bench during his four years in Carolina. Brind’Amour, a member of Peters’ staff, said “for sure that happened” in backing former Hurricanes defenseman Michal Jordan saying the coach kicked him and punched other players.
Brind’Amour said Peters’ abuse stopped after players and support staff voiced their concerns to team officials. Peters coached the Hurricanes from 20142018.