Calgary Flames head coach apologizes; former player condemns him

Akim Aliu does not accept Bill Peter's apology

Calgary Flames head coach Bill Peters. Photo courtesy of the Calgary Flames
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By Joshua Rey

Calgary Flames head coach Bill Peters apologized for his derogatory comments from almost ten years ago but his former player Akim Aliu has called Peters’ comments “misleading, insincere and concerning.”

“I have accepted an invitation from the NHL to meet and discuss this situation,” Aliu said in a statement on Twitter.

“Out of respect for that process I will not respond publicly to the statement or discuss the racism and discrimination that I have endured until my meeting.”

This whole situation started started Monday when Aliu  tweeted that Peters used a racial slur against him and insulted Aliu’s music. This happened  about a decade ago when both Peters and Aliu were with the Rockford Icehogs of the American Hockey League.

Peters has been under investigation and has not been at practice since Monday. He also was not behind the bench Wednesday night when the Flames beat the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 in overtime in Buffalo.  Assistant Geoff Ward was at the helm as the interim coach.

Also on Wednesday night,  Peters issued an apology in a form of a letter to GM Brad Treliving admitting he used offensive language ten years ago. He also said he apologized to the dressing room after the incident and has deeply regretted his choice of  words ever since.

“I am aware of the reality of my actions,” said Peters. “I meant no disrespect in what I said and it was not directed at anyone in particular.”

“It’s a good for the players to finally start stepping up,” said hockey fan Brendan Hiebert. “It’s an old boys club. The mindset never left the owners. A lot of change is happening right now.”

Hiebert recalled an incident where former Philadelphia Flyers player Wayne Simmonds was “going for up for a penalty shot and fans started throwing bananas on the ice.”

“The black players in the league have gone through tons of racism,” said Hiebert.

Flames fan and Calgary resident  Mazen Hassanin doesn’t really have a strong opinion on the situation because it happened years ago but doesn’t see Peters staying as coach.

“Now that there has been more recent allegations coming out, I’m not too sure if Bill Peters should stay as a coach,” said Hassanin.

This situation comes weeks after Don Cherry’s firing over racist comments directed towards immigrants.

Not everything is on fire in the Flames organization, the team announced a pet calendar  presented by the Healthy Paws Forward veterinary hospital Thursday morning and proceeds will go to charity.

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