Bill Peters has resigned as head coach of the Calgary Flames in the wake of allegations made by former player Akim Aliu on social media.
Flames general manager Brad Treliving made the announcement during a press conference on Friday.
"The subject matter we’ve 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 said.
Geoff Ward will take over as interim head coach. Ward had been acting as caretaker head coach while Peters was sidelined during investigations into the allegations and led the Flames to a 3-2 overtime win at Buffalo on Wednesday.
"I’ve been criticized a lot over the past three to four days that things have not moved quickly," Treliving said. "If I’ve not met anyone’s time agenda I apologize but it was more important to make sure we get all of the information."
The NHL released the following statement in the wake of Peters’ resignation:
The League has been in regular communication with Calgary Flames management and our review of this serious matter is ongoing. There are meetings scheduled with relevant individuals – including Akim Aliu – in the coming days. We will have no further comment at this time.
On Monday night, Aliu alleged on Twitter that Peters had directed a racial slur toward him “several times” while the two were together in the AHL. Aliu played for Peters when he was head coach of the Rockford IceHogs, Chicago’s AHL affiliate, for five games in the 2008-09 season and 48 games in 2009-10. Aliu also appeared in 13 games for the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye in ’09-10.
Since the allegation, Peters has not run a practice for the Flames and was not on the bench for their Wednesday night game in Buffalo. He also did not join the team on their charter flight back to Calgary.
During Calgary’s game against Buffalo, Peters released an apology to the Flames in regards to the incident involving Aliu, though he did not mention him by name.
On Thursday morning, Aliu issued a statement responding to Peters’ letter.
I have read the statement of Bill Peters, which I found to be misleading, insincere and concerning. I have accepted an invitation from the NHL to meet and discuss this situation. Out of respect for that process, I will not respond publicly to the statement or discuss the racism and discrimination that I have endured until after my meeting.
— With files from The Canadian Press