Flames coach Bill Peters quits; ac­cused of slurs, abuse

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - SPORTS - AP Hockey Writ­ers

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.

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