Akim Aliu accepted an apology from equipment manager Tony Denzer on Tuesday after Deynzer apologized for wearing blackface at a Halloween party in 2011.
Deynzer, an equipment manager for the Colorado Eagles—the Avalanche's AHL affiliate—put on blackface and wore an afro-style wig to the organization's Halloween party eight years ago. Aliu, who was a member of the minor-league team at the time, was told to show up late to the party. When Aliu arrived, Deynzer popped out of the corner in blackface and Aliu's jersey.
Aliu met with Deynzer and the Eagles last week after he disclosed the incident to The Wall Street Journal's Andrew Beaton on Dec. 11.
"Listening to Akim was both emotional and inspirational and a very moving moment in my career," Eagles owner Martin Lind said in a statement. "I let him know how sorry we were as an organization and how it in no way reflects our values. I was appreciative that Akim was willing to take my call and listen to what we had to say."
"My conversation with Mr. Lind was a tough one but a necessary one .... I believe that we must confront racism head on," Aliu said in the joint statement. "I believe the time for big positive change in the sport has arrived and that this moment can be used to promote diversity, inclusiveness, and safety in the sport and our community."
Aliu has been a central figure in revealing a troubling pattern of racism in hockey. He tweeted on Nov. 25 that former Flames head coach Bill Peters directed racial slurs at Aliu in 2009. Peters resigned on Nov. 29.
The 30-year-old forward and current free agent met with commissioner Gary Bettman on Dec. 9. The league then released a plan to combat racism and inappropriate behavior throughout the sport.