The NHL is investigating whether former Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon made racially insensitive comments during the team’s two-week stay in the playoff hub city of Toronto.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed the investigation to The Associated Press on Friday. In an email, Daly did not provide any details of the allegations, which were first reported by FloridaHockeyNow.com.
The publication cited a unidentified person in reporting Tallon used “racially charged language” during the Panthers’ time in the Eastern Conference’s playoff hub. After 10 years with the Panthers, Tallon was let go Aug. 10 after Florida was eliminated by the New York Islanders.
The NHL’s investigation began more than a week ago and is looking into multiple instances of Tallon making racially insensitive comments, a person with direct knowledge of the situation told The AP on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.
The investigation comes as the NHL postponed two days of playoff games to focus awareness on racial injustice issues.
The Panthers did not respond to a message seeking comment. Tallon could not be reached.
Tallon’s contract as GM and president of hockey operations was not renewed in what the Panthers described as a mutual decision. Tallon had been with the team for 10 years, but Florida made the playoffs only three times in that span and has not won a postseason round since reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 1996.
“For the last decade, Dale raised the team’s profile, attracted key players to South Florida and brought character and class to our franchise,” Panthers owner Vincent Viola said earlier this month. “When we purchased the Panthers in 2013, we did so with a singular goal — to win a Stanley Cup. We have not seen our efforts come to fruition.”
Last fall, Bill Peters resigned as coach of the Calgary Flames after it was disclosed he directed racist slurs at a Nigerian-born player in the minors a decade ago and kicked and punched players behind the bench during his recent time with Carolina.