In the midst of allegations of racial and verbal abuse brought to light by former NHLer Akim Aliu, several players have come forward with their opinions on the controversial motivational and power tactics deployed by current Calgary Flames — and former Carolina Hurricanes — head coach Bill Peters.
Pivoting off the claims that Peters aggressively targeted Aliu with a vile, n-bomb-filled rant in the dressing room prior to a morning skate when the two were with Chicago’s AHL affiliate in Rockford, former Hurricane Michal Jordan took to Twitter with his own story of abuse, this time of the physical variety, suffered at the hands of Peters when he was the Canes’ bench boss.
On Wednesday, Jordan’s allegations of Peters kicking him and punching another player in the head were confirmed by current Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour, who was an assistant under Peters in Carolina.
“It for sure happened, the two issues in question.” Brind’Amour told reporters before praising how the organization dealt with the incident.
“To me it’s what happened after that I’m proud of, the way the players handled it and the way our sports staff handled it — bringing it to management right away. Then management handled it correctly and we never heard of it again. Never saw anything else after that. It was definitely dealt with, in my opinion, correctly.”
Hurricanes beat reporter Sara Civian of The Athletic added that former players John-Michael Liles, Justin Faulk and Ron Hainsey, among others, confronted Peters in his office after the incident, where Peters apparently apologized.
Civian also tweeted out the sentiment of one source clearly familiar with Peters’ tactics.
Brind’Amour, who boasts the perspective of both a former player and that of a current NHL head coach, shed light on why players like Aliu, Jordan and others fear being vocal about abuse, especially early in their career.
“Players are afraid to speak up, and to be honest with you, everybody under the coach, the manager, they are afraid to speak up, I think at times,” Brind’Amour said.
“Because there’s a big gap on the power structure on that. I think the players have way more power now, and they realize that. I think it’s important for them to speak out about whatever they think is important because the times have changed. They definitely have more power and they need to speak up.”
As for Peters, he remains away from the Flames while the organization and the NHL investigate the claims made by Aliu (which were later corroborated by former teammates) and weigh their options. There are a lot of legal issues to be sorted here, for sure, but time is of the essence — from both a public relations and moral standpoint.
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