MONTEREY, Calif. — NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Monday that the league will work swiftly to make changes to better deal with personnel conduct issues in the wake of incidents that surfaced in recent weeks.
Speaking at the end of the first day of the Board of Governors meeting at the Inn at Spanish Bay resort in Pebble Beach, Bettman told reporters that NHL personnel will be required to attend mandatory counseling regarding racism and anti-bullying. Bettman also talked about the formation of a hotline for people to call to report any such incidents.
''Inclusion and diversity are not simply buzz words. They are foundational principles of the NHL,'' Bettman said. ''Our message is unequivocal: We will not tolerate abusive behavior of any kind.''
Bettman's comments were his first publicly since former NHL player Akim Aliu alleged that former Calgary Flames coach Bill Peters previously directed racial slurs toward him while in the minor leagues a decade ago. Peters, who has also been accused of physical abuse while coaching Carolina, resigned following the accusations by Aliu.
While Bettman said that the NHL is conducting its own review of the Peters-Aliu situation, the commissioner made it clear that there will be zero tolerance from the league moving forward.
To that end, Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the Board of Governors about a multi-point plan designed to curb any further issues while allowing coaches to still do their job.