Calgary Flames head coach Bill Peters issues statement, apology for racial slur: ‘There is no excuse’
As the Calgary Flames were wrapping up a four-game road trip in Buffalo against the Sabres on Wednesday night, head coach Bill Peters was sending a statement via email to general manager Brad Treliving. “Please accept this as a sincere apology to you, and the entire Calgary Flames organization, for offensive language I used in a professional setting a decade ago,” the statement, which he also sent to TSN’s Bob McKenzie and Sportnet’s Eric Francis at the same time as Treliving, read. “I know that my comments have been the source of both anger and disappointment, and I understand why.” A statement from Bill Peters, in the form of a letter to CGY GM Brad Treliving:: pic.twitter.com/YouP6ZABrm— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) November 28, 2019Allegations were levied against Peters on Monday by former player Akim Aliu via Twitter in response to the Toronto Maple Leafs’ firing of head coach Mike Babcock last week. Peters was a member of Babcock’s staff in Detroit and was Aliu’s head coach in 2009-10 with the Chicago Blackhawks’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs.Not very surprising the things we’re hearing about Babcock. Apple doesn’t fall far from the Tree, same sort of deal with his protege in YYC. 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. First one to— Akim Aliu (@Dreamer_Aliu78) November 26, 2019admit I rebelled against him. Wouldn’t you? And instead of remedying the situation, he wrote a letter to John McDonough and Stan Bowman to have me sent down to the ECHL. 20 year old on pace for 20 goals in his first pro year with zero PP/PK time was off to a great start in his— Akim Aliu (@Dreamer_Aliu78) November 26, 2019In a TSN interview with Frank Seravalli, Aliu recalled the specific interaction with Peters before an IceHogs morning skate in the locker room.“He walked in before a morning pregame skate and said ‘Hey, Akim, I’m sick of you playing that n— s—,’” Aliu said of Peters’ reaction to his decision to play hip-hop music in the locker 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.”The event, which was corroborated by two teammates who witnessed it, was what Peters called an “isolated and immediately regrettable incident” and that he “was rightfully challenged about my use of language, and I immediately returned to the dressing room to apologize to the team.” However, Aliu told TSN on Tuesday that Peters never apologized and said in his office afterward, “You know, I’m just sick of this n— s—. It’s every day. From now on, we need to play different music.”Peters, who reportedly left Buffalo earlier Wednesday and returned to Calgary, added in the statement that, “I have regretted the incident since it happened, and I now also apologize to anyone negatively affected by my words. I am aware that there is no excuse for language that is offensive.”I meant no disrespect in what I said, and it was not directed at anyone in particular. But, that doesn’t matter; it was hurtful and demeaning. I am truly sorry. I accept the reality of my actions.”While the letter addressed and acknowledged that Peters did use a racial slur, it did not discuss the other allegations involving physical abuse that have come to light in the last few days. Those tweets by former Carolina Hurricanes player Michal Jordan were confirmed by then-assistant coach, and current Hurricanes head coach, Rod Brind’Amour on Wednesday.Aliu responded to Peters’ apology with a statement that says he found his former coach’s words “misleading, insincere and concerning.” Statement from Akim Aliu: pic.twitter.com/z4v2UQLnox— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) November 28, 2019The Flames have been conducting an investigation since the tweets first surfaced and have spoken at length with Peters, Aliu and members of the Blackhawks organization. Peters did not coach Wednesday night’s 3-2 overtime victory; associate head coach Geoff Ward served as head coach with assistant coach (and usually the coach in the press box) Martin Gelinas and assistant general manager Craig Conroy joining him on the bench. Following the game, Treliving told reporters they hope to have an update on the investigation on Thursday.”It’s been a difficult three days for everyone, Treliving said. “We’ve tried to be as open as transparent as possible . . . I know everybody wants everything done immediately [and] the world we live in is immediate. We are not trying to stall or take time or drag our feet. It’s a serious matter. And it’s involving serious subject matter.”And I just want to make sure that we are doing a thorough job in looking under every stone [and] rock and doing all the things that we need to be done.”
Guinness Cage CompetitionJai Signs & Auto Designs of Independence Boulevard, Georgetown returned for another year to add its support towards the exciting Three Peat Promotions’ Guinness Cage Tournament dubbed “East Coast Best versus the Rest”, set to kick off Wednesday evening, at the Haslington Market Tarmac from 19:00h.Jai Signs’ Andrunie Harris (second left) hands over the cheque for an undisclosed sum to Three Peat Promotions’ Lorrieann Baptiste in the presence of fellow staffer Nicholas Rampersaud at the entity’s head officeOn Monday, during a simple ceremony at the entity’s head office, Jai Signs & Auto Designs representative Andrunie Harris handed over a cheque for an undisclosed sum to Three Peat’s Lorrieann Baptiste in the presence of fellow staffer Nicholas Rampersaud.On behalf of the promotional group, Baptiste thanked the company for answering the call for support, adding that the gesture was a clear indication of the entity’s vision for the development of sports, especially at the grassroots level and also its willingness to help in the development of social cohesion among communities.Twenty teams selected from the East Coast of Demerara, Georgetown and the East Bank of Demerara will square off for prize monies in excess of $700,000 and trophies, including individual prizes for outstanding performances.The other scheduled playing days are August 11, 18, and 25 and September 1 when the final is scheduled to be played.There will be giveaways for fans each night of the competition.