The fire under Flames coach Bill Peters’ seat grows hotter as the NHL investigates allegations of racism made by former Blackhawks prospect Akim Aliu earlier this week.
Aliu, a native of Nigeria, claimed Monday that Peters repeatedly called him the N-word in 2009 and 2010 while Peters was coaching the Rockford IceHogs and Aliu was playing for the team. Aliu claims Peters then asked Hawks general manager Stan Bowman and Hawks president John McDonough to demote Aliu to the ECHL.
The NHL and the Flames are reportedly looking into Aliu’s claims, and Flames general manager Brad Treliving announced that Peters will not coach their game Wednesday night in Buffalo, although he denied Peters had been fired.
The Hawks, meanwhile, issued a statement denying knowledge of the alleged behavior during Peters’ stint as IceHogs coach from 2008 to 2011.
“The alleged actions by a former coach toward Akim Aliu while with the Rockford IceHogs are something we take seriously,” the statement said. “The purported incident had not been reported or brought to our attention prior to [Monday] and had no effect on any player personnel decision regarding Mr. Aliu.”
In an interview Tuesday with TSN’s Frank Seravalli, Aliu elaborated on his descriptions, saying Peters called him the N-word in response to his locker room music taste, and did so again later in a one-on-one meeting. Seravalli reported that two former IceHogs teammates confirmed Aliu’s allegations.
Aliu clarified to Seravalli that his ECHL demotion occurred several weeks later, after he snapped back at Peters during a practice.
Sean McMorrow, a black player who made 25 appearances with the IceHogs under Peters in 2008-09, tweeted Tuesday that Peters is a “horrible human being” who “treated me terrible.”