That came a day after the Flames began investigating Peters for a separate incident involving allegedly making racist comments toward a black player while coaching a minor league hockey team during the 2009-10 season.
Michal Jordan, a defenseman who played for Peters on the Hurricanes from 2014 to 2016, wrote in a series of tweets on Tuesday that Peters had kicked and punched him and a teammate during a game. He told TSN’s Frank Seravalli there were “multiple” physical altercations between Peters and Carolina players.
“He kicked me pretty hard in the back during a game,” Jordan said. “Even the trainers and the other guys saw it.”
“I was at that point in my career, like I just got there, so I couldn’t say anything,” Jordan added. “I didn’t want them to think I was crying. Me and my agent, we kept it secret. Now other guys are speaking out, so I felt like I could.”
Asked why such allegations didn’t surface until now, Brind’Amour said players “are afraid to speak up. To be honest with you, everybody under the coach are afraid to speak out, at times, because there’s a big gap in the power structure. The players have way more power now and I think they realize that and I think it’s important for them to speak out on whatever is important.”
The controversy around Peters began Monday, when former Flames winger Akim Aliu, who played for Peters on the American Hockey League’s Rockford IceHogs, tweeted about a “protege” of recently fired Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock, a veiled reference to Peters. That “protege,” he wrote in the tweet, “dropped the N bomb several times towards me in the dressing room in my rookie year because he didn’t like my choice of music.”
Aliu told TSN that Peters came into the locker room and said, “‘Hey Akim, I’m sick of you playing that n----- s---,’” referring to hip-hop music Aliu was playing. “He said, ‘I’m sick of hearing this n-----s f------ other n-----s in the a-- stuff.’
“He then walked out like nothing ever happened. You could hear a pin drop in the room; everything went dead silent. I just sat down in my stall, didn’t say a word.”
Journalists on Wednesday tweeted a letter from Peters to Treliving, which did not include specific details of the incident, such as the player’s name. In the letter, Peters apologized to the Flames for the “offensive language” that he said he used “in a professional setting a decade ago.”
“I know that my comments have been the source of anger and disappointment, and I understand why,” the letter said. “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.”
Peters said he supported the team’s review, and accepted “the reality of my actions.”
“I am aware that there is no excuse for language that is offensive,” he said. “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.”
The NHL called Peters’s alleged comments “repugnant and unacceptable” in a statement on Tuesday and began investigating alongside the Flames.
Aliu told TSN on Tuesday that he did not confront Peters after the incident, and he alleged that the animosity with the coach led the Flames to demote him to the lower-tier East Coast Hockey League.
“What am I going to say? I was 20 years old and a first-year pro. I was too scared to speak up,” Aliu said. “I beat myself up every day over it.”
The Chicago Blackhawks, who control players’ contracts on the IceHogs, said in a statement that they take Peters’s alleged behavior seriously and the coach’s allegedly troublesome behavior toward Aliu “had no effect on any player personnel decision.”