Bill Peters is no longer the coach of the Calgary Flames. Four days after the news broke regarding his use of racial slurs toward a former player and following an investigation by the Flames organization, general manager Brad Treliving said during a news conference Friday afternoon that Peters had resigned from his position.

”Effective immediately, Bill Peters is no longer a member of the Calgary Flames organization,” Treliving said, noting Peters volunteered his resignation without prompting from the organization.

“Our review, for the most part now, I would say is done.,” Treliving said. “That information will obviously be turned over to the league, but we consider the matter closed.”

When asked what the Flames would have done had Peters not offered his resignation, Treliving said the team has a review taking place and “I don’t think hypotheticals are things we should get into right now. He’s resigned.”

An immediate follow-up question asked specifically if Calgary would have been inclined to fire Peters had the letter of resignation not been submitted.

“Same answer. He’s resigned. He’s no longer with us,” Treliving said.

Former NHL player Akim Aliu had said via Twitter that Peters had “dropped the N bomb” several times while they were both in the minors. Peters was the coach of the Rockford IceHogs at the time. Aliu played for the team, which is the minor league affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks in the AHL, in 2009-10, during which time Peters used the N-word multiple times while in the locker room because, Aliu said, “he didn’t like my choice of music.”

The details of the incident, which were reported by TSN following an interview with Aliu, were also corroborated by two other former IceHogs players, Simon Pepin and Peter MacArthur.

Peters, who was in his second year as the Flames’ head coach, confirmed the incident happened in a letter of apology, which was sent to the Calgary front office and Treliving. He said in the letter, which did not name Aliu specifically, that “Although it was an isolated and immediately regrettable incident, I take responsibility for what I said.”

The letter, in its entirety, reads:

Please accept this as a sincere apology to you, and the entire Calgary Flames organization, for offensive language I used in a professional setting a decade ago. I know that my comments have been the source of both anger and disappointment, and I understand why. Although it was an isolated and immediately regrettable incident, I take responsibility for what I said. The statement was made in a moment of frustration and does not reflect my personal values. After the incident, I was rightfully challenged about my use of language, and I immediately returned to the dressing room to apologize to the team.I have regretted the incident since it happened, and I now also apologize to anyone negatively affected by my words.I am aware that there is no excuse for language that is offensive. I meant no disrespect in what I said, and it was not directed at anyone in particular. But, that doesn’t matter; it was hurtful and demeaning. I am truly sorry. I accept the reality of my actions. I do believe that we must strive to act with integrity, and to take accountability for what we say and do. This letter is intended to do exactly that; I hope it is accepted as intended. I appreciate the thorough review of this situation being undertaken by the Flames. It’s the right thing to do, and I support it fully.

Treliving said during the news conference Friday the investigation into the incident was thorough, and that he spoke with Aliu.

Treliving said previously that the Flames organization wanted to make sure they did everything right during their probe.

”This investigation we’re doing, I know everyone wants this done immediately and the world we live in is immediate. I hope you can appreciate we’re trying to do everything we possibly can to make sure we get it right and get all the information that needs to be gotten.’’

According to the article by TSN, Aliu was reluctant to come forward about the incident due to fear his career would suffer. He mentioned former San Fransisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick as an example.

“This isn’t me being bitter. I sat on this a really, really long time. It broke my heart, I think it made my career go downhill before it started,” Aliu said. “This isn’t to the degree of Kaepernick by any means, but if you play the race card, it’s most likely the end of your career.”

After the initial tweet by Aliu, more players began coming forward with details of Peters’ conduct. Peters, who is 53 years old, was the head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes from 2014-18. During that time, according to former Hurricanes defenseman Michal Jordan, the coach physically assaulted players, kicking them and punching them.

Those incidents, according to a story by the Washington Post, were confirmed by current Carolina Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour, who was an assistant when Peters was at the helm of the team.

Brind’Amour also addressed the reports prior to a recent Hurricanes game.

Former Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos said during an interview with the Seattle Times that he would have fired Peters had he been aware of the incidents. He said then-general manager Rob Francis, who is now the GM of the expansion Seattle team slated to begin play in 2021, would have to explain how and why the situation was handled the way it was.

“I’m pretty upset,” Karmanos said. “And I have my calls in to Ronnie as well. I think he’s the one who’s going to have to tell people what he did when he found out that the coach had done these things.”

The NHL issued a statement indicating their investigation into Peters was ongoing.

Perhaps Aliu’s courage in stepping forward with the details of the racism aimed at him, and Jordan’s willingness to speak out about the physical abuse he and others took from an NHL head coach, will provide an avenue for other players to reach out to the NHL regarding their own experiences. Hopefully the NHL and the league’s teams not only take investigations into those seriously, but continue to do what is needed to change the toxic culture that exists within the sport.

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