(Reuters) – Bill Peters resigned as head coach of the Calgary Flames on Friday following allegations he had used racial slurs against a player in the minor leagues a decade ago.
Peters had been under investigation by the Flames and the National Hockey League after former NHL player Akim Aliu alleged on Twitter on Monday that the coach directed racial slurs at him when they were with the American Hockey League’s Rockford IceHogs 10 years ago.
“This morning I received a letter of resignation from Bill Peters which I accepted, effective immediately, Bill Peters is no longer a member of the Calgary Flames organization,” general manager Brad Treliving said at a news conference.
Peters, who had coached the NHL team since 2018, apologized this week in a letter to Treliving for what he said was “offensive language” towards a Nigerian-born player but it was not enough to save his job.
Assistant coach Geoff Ward will take over on an interim basis.
“The subject matter we have been dealing with over the last few days is difficult, it’s hard and it does not in any way reflect the core values of the Calgary Flames,” Treliving told reporters. “It has been a difficult time but we are moving forward.
“I met with our players this morning and we are ready to move beyond this and focus on our game on the ice.”
Aliu alleged that 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.”
Treliving and the Flames have been criticized for failing to deal with the matter more quickly but Calgary’s general manager was unapologetic about the pace of the investigation saying it was more important to make sure they had all the information.
The review included interviews with Aliu and players, coaches and management staff of the Rockford IceHogs.
“No matter how difficult the situation I think you have to learn from it, there are lessons to be learned here,” said Treliving. “In a general sense there is acceptable and non-acceptable behavior whether in dressing rooms or society.
“As difficult as these days have been, hopefully this is something that can be positive moving forward.”
Treliving said he now considered the matter closed.
Reporting by Steve keating in Toronto and Gene Cherry in Wilson, North Carolina; Editing by Ken Ferris