At a news conference on Friday, General Manager Brad Treliving said Peters resigned Friday morning. Treliving said he became aware of the racism allegations only when Aliu raised them Monday and said he had two conversations with Aliu this week. The general manager claimed he performed due diligence when he vetted Peters in 2018, saying he did a “full scrub” on his character.
“It does not in any way reflect the core values of the Calgary Flames,” Treliving said. “It’s been a difficult time but we will move forward.”
Treliving would not say whether Peters would have been fired had he not resigned, saying he didn’t want to go into “hypotheticals."
Geoff Ward coached the Flames in Peters’s absence on Wednesday and will be the team’s interim head coach. He will be Calgary’s third coach in the last 3½ seasons. Ward has never been a full-time NHL head coach, though has been a head coach at the minor league and junior levels.
Peters didn’t run a practice after Aliu lodged the allegation on Twitter on Monday and did not coach the Flames during their overtime win in Buffalo on Wednesday night. During the game, Peters issued an apology “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,” Peters wrote to Treliving in a letter that did not mention Aliu’s name. “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.”
The Nigerian-born Aliu, who last played in the NHL in 2013, called Peters’s apology “misleading, insincere and concerning” and said he would meet with NHL officials to discuss the situation.
“There’s acceptable and unacceptable behavior,” Treliving said Friday. “We want people to feel safe, secure in the environment. But I think it’s going to be a learning lesson for everyone. … Hopefully this is something that can be positive moving forward.”
The day after Aliu raised his allegations, Jordan tweeted 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.”
On Wednesday, Carolina Hurricanes Coach Rod Brind’Amour — an assistant on Peters’s staff during the time in question — confirmed that the two incidents “for sure happened” and that the players were afraid to speak up “because there’s a big gap in the power structure” between coaches and players.
“These incidents didn’t take place here,” Treliving said. “I think the avenues we got, the mechanisms we have for people to come forward, are in place.”
Last season, his first year in Calgary, Peters led the Flames to a first-place finish in the Pacific Division but a first-round playoff loss.