The Calgary Flames have issued a statement in response to allegations made by former player Akim Aliu on social media against head coach Bill Peters.
On Monday night, Aliu alleged on Twitter that Peters had directed a racial slur towards 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.
In the series of tweets, Aliu didn’t mention Peters by name, but did refer to a “protégé” of Mike Babcock currently in Calgary. Peters served as Babcock’s assistant on Detroit’s bench for three years.
Sportsnet’s Eric Francis confirmed Flames GM Brad Treliving has been in contact with Aliu.
Treliving briefly addressed the media after Monday’s game between the Flames and Pittsburgh Penguins and said the team would be investigating the accusation internally before responding further.
“During tonight’s game I was made aware of a tweet from former player Akim Aliu,” Treliving said. “Obviously we were playing so I haven’t had a time to sit down with Bill or our people internally to talk about this and get to the bottom of it.
“I would say we take these matters very, very seriously.”
While general managers usually do not address the media after games coaches regularly do, but Peters did not make an appearance on Monday.
The NHL released a statement Tuesday addressing Aliu’s tweets.
The Blackhawks also released a statement that denied they had previously known about what Aliu is alleging.
“The alleged actions by a former coach toward Akim Aliu while with the Rockford IceHogs are something we take seriously. The purported incident had not been reported or brought to our attention prior to yesterday and had no effect on any player personnel decision regarding Mr. Aliu.”
The Blackhawks traded Aliu to the Atlanta Thrashers in the Dustin Byfuglien trade in the summer of 2010. Peters coached the IceHogs until after the 2010-11 season when he joined the Detroit Red Wings as an assistant coach.