Akim Aliu says ‘big change coming’ after meeting with NHL

Akim Aliu spoke to the media briefly following his meeting with Gary Bettman about “big change” coming and how excited he is to see that come to fruition.

Akim Aliu believes some much-needed change is coming to the NHL.

The former Calgary Flames forward met with commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly on Tuesday to discuss cultural problems in the game, and told reporters after the meeting that he’s excited to see changes made.

“I want to start with just thanking everyone for their support. It obviously means a lot to me. It’s been a tough week, but we had some discussion with Gary [Bettman] and Bill [Daly],” Aliu told reporters. “They couldn’t have been kinder and receptive to the message that we’re trying to bring and I think there’s just some big change coming. It’s long overdue, and I’m excited to see it come to fruition.”

Aliu revealed last week that Flames head coach Bill Peters, who was Aliu’s AHL coach in Rockford during his rookie pro season, had directed a racial slur toward him “several times” back in 2009-10. Aliu’s allegations were quickly verified by teammates, with others also stepping forward to speak up. Peters was suspended by the Flames as the team investigated, and submitted his resignation on Friday.

Bettman and Daly also released a shared statement via the NHL, indicating that the meeting was “part of a broader, thorough review and process that the league is undertaking.”

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