Former NHL player Akim Aliu, who accused former Calgary Flames coach Bill Peters of hurling racial slurs at him when the two were in the Chicago Blackhawks organization, expressed optimism Tuesday after meeting with league officials over the allegations.
Aliu accused Peters of using the N-word in reference to him and telling him to turn off hip-hop music in the locker room, referring to it as “that n----- s—t,” according to TSN. The Nigerian-born player met with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly.
“I want to thank everyone for their support. It obviously means a lot to me,” Aliu said in a statement, according to TSN. “It's been a tough week, but we had some great discussions with Gary and Bill. They couldn't have been kinder and receptive to the message we're trying to bring.
“I think there is some big change coming. It's long overdue, and I'm excited to see it come to fruition.”
Aliu added on Twitter: “Met with NHL. Hoping for big change. Thanks everyone for the support. #TimeToDream.”
The NHL also released a statement on the meeting.
“We are pleased to have met with Akim Aliu today and had a productive and candid conversation. Today’s discussion is part of a broader, thorough review and process that the League is undertaking. We share a mutual objective: ensuring that hockey is an open and inclusive sport at all levels.”
Aliu made the allegation against Peters on Nov. 25 and it was corroborated in a separate TSN story by two former teammates. Peters apologized for his “offensive language” and said he apologized to the American Hockey League’s Rockford IceHogs at the time.
However, Aliu called Peters’ apology “insincere” and that the coach hadn’t apologized to him prior to last week.
Peters resigned as Flames coach Friday.