NHL coach resigns after being accused of using racial slur by former player

FILE – In this April 23, 2018, file photo, now-former Calgary Flames NHL hockey team head coach Bill Peters speaks to the media in Calgary, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

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UPDATED 3:10 PM PT — Saturday, November 30, 2019

The coach of the NHL’s Calgary Flames is stepping down after acknowledging his use of a racial slur in the past. Flames head coach Bill Peters’ resignation was announced on Friday after a former player accused him of using a racial slur earlier this week.

Peters reportedly used a racial slur against Akim Aliu back in 2009 while coaching the Rockford Icehogs. In a letter, Peters apologized to the Flames for the offensive language he used, but did not mention Aliu specifically.

Several Flames team members have since weighed in on the matter. They described the last couple days as hectic and unfortunate.

“It’s a real unfortunate situation and it’s been a tough four days,” said player Sean Monahan. “At the end of the day, we as a team have got to move forward.”

Calgary Flames interim head coach Geoff Ward, right, directs the team during NHL hockey practice, Friday, Nov. 29, 2019, in Calgary, Alberta, following the resignation of head coach Bill Peters. (Larry MacDougal/The Canadian Press via AP)

Flames general manager Brad Treliving announced Geoff Ward will be taking over coaching duties. The interim coach has acknowledged the stress surrounding the recent change, but said he is hopeful the team can “rise above it all and get going.”

“Right now, I think it’s so important that, collectively, we come together as a group,” said Ward. “Our focus right now is preparing to play the Ottawa Senators tomorrow, all the other stuff has to stay in the background.”

The NHL is planning to meet with Aliu next week to discuss the situation.

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