Flames Head Coach Bill Peters Resigns After Allegations of Racism

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Flames coach Bill Peters on the bench

Flames head coach Bill Peters resigned from his position on Friday morning, the team announced.

The Flames released a statement saying Peters handed in a letter of resignation to general manager Brad Treliving

"Effective immediately, Bill Peters is no longer a member of the Calgary Flames organization," the team said.

In a press conference on Friday, Treliving announced associate coach Geoff Ward will act as interim head coach. He also said the team was in constant communication with the National Hockey League on a "very regular basis" during the Flames' investigation into the allegations against Peters.

The coach's departure comes after a former player accused Peters of making racist comments to him. In a series of tweets on Monday night, Akim Aliu, a Nigerian-born former NHL winger, accused Peters of calling him the n-word when Peters was his coach with the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs.

Aliu expanded on the allegations in an interview on Tuesday with TSN. 

"He walked in before a morning pre-game skate and said 'Hey Akim, I'm sick of you playing that n----- s---,' " Aliu recalled Peters saying of his hip-hop music in the dressing room. "He said 'I'm sick of hearing this n-----s f------ other n-----s 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."

Two of Aliu's Rockford teammates confirmed the account to TSN. The team captain confronted Peters about the incident, according to Aliu, but when Peters called Aliu into his office to discuss it, Peters again referred to Aliu's choice in music as "n----- s---" and told him to play different music. 

Aliu also believes he was treated unfairly on the ice by Peters, not given any power-play or penalty-kill minutes. 

Following Aliu's allegations, former Hurricanes defenseman Michal Jordán accused Peters of physical abuse on Tuesday. In a series of tweets, Jordán said Peters kicked him and punched an unnamed player in the head during a game. Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind'Amour, who was previously an assistant coach under Peters, confirmed Jordán's allegations. 

Peters did not coach the Flames on Wednesday against Buffalo as the organization investigated the incident.

That same night, Peters sent a letter to Treliving to address the allegations of making racist comments and to apologize to anyone affected by his words. He did not name Aliu in the letter. Aliu released a statement on Thursday calling Peters's apology "misleading, insincere."

Peters left Rockford to become an assistant coach under Mike Babcock with the Red Wings. He became head coach of the Hurricanes in 2014 and spent four seasons in Carolina before resigning. He joined Calgary before the 2018–19 season and led the Flames to a Pacific Division championship, though they bowed out in the first round of the playoffs.