Ron Francis releases statement on Bill Peters incidents in Carolina

Seattle general manager Ron Francis. (Ted S. Warren/AP)

Ron Francis has released a statement about “physical incidents” involving Bill Peters and players on the Carolina Hurricanes that occurred while Francis was general manager of the team.

“When I was general manager in Carolina, after a game, a group of players and hockey staff members made me aware of the physical incidents involving two players and Bill Peters. I took this matter very seriously,” Francis, who is now the general manager of the Seattle expansion team, said in his statement. “I took immediate action to address the matter and briefed ownership. To my knowledge, no further such incidents occurred.”

Francis’s statement contradicts an interview Peter Karmanos, the former owner of the Hurricanes, gave with Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times on Thursday.

Karmanos said he would have fired Peters “in a nanosecond” had Francis made him aware of the incidents. But Francis said in his statement that ownership was made aware of it.

The incidents Francis’s statement are referring to involved defenceman Michal Jordan and another unidentified player. Jordan wrote on Twitter on Tuesday that Peters kicked him and punched the other player on the bench.

Current Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour, who was an assistant under Peters, said Wednesday that the two incidents “for sure happened,” but he was happy with how management handled the situation.

“To me, it’s what happened after that I’m proud about actually, the way the players handled it, and the way the support staff handled it, which was to bring it to management right away,” Brind’Amour said. “And then management handled it directly and never heard of it again. And never saw anything else after that.

“So, it was definitely dealt with, in my opinion, correctly, and that’s the last I need to talk about it.”

Jordan shared his story after Akim Aliu revealed on Twitter Monday that Peters had used a racial slur “several times” when the two were together in the AHL. Aliu’s story and Jordan’s follow up resulted in the Calgary Flames doing a full investigation and Peters resigning from his head coaching job in Calgary on Friday.

“It would have been inappropriate for me to comment publicly while an active investigation was being conducted by another team,” Francis said in his statement, referring to the Flames investigation. “I will not comment on this matter further.”

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