Former Flames head coach Bill Peters, who resigned in November after his usage of racial slurs and physical abuse surfaced, has been hired as the next coach of the KHL’s Yekaterinburg Avtomobilist.
“I think as time goes on, we all grow and improve and become better versions of ourselves, and I’m no different than that,” he said during a video conference with reporters, according to The Associated Press. “You learn from all the experiences that you’re in, and you become better.
“It’s no different right now, going through a very trying time right now in the world with the global pandemic, and I believe we’re going to come out of this, and when we come out of this people are going to be better people for it and more passionate and compassionate towards each other and more patient.”
Peters stepped down from the Flames’ bench after former player Akim Aliu, who played for him with the Rockford IceHogs (AHL) during the 2009-10 season, stated on Twitter that he “dropped the N-bomb several times towards me in the dressing room” during his rookie year. It also surfaced that the ex-NHL coach was physically abusive; former Hurricanes defenseman Michal Jordan, who Peters coached from 2014-16 in Carolina, accused Peters of kicking him during an unspecified game.
Peters claimed the Aliu incident was an “isolated event” in a letter he wrote, adding: “I have regretted the (Aliu) incident since it happened, and I now also apologize to anyone negatively affected by my words. I am aware that there is no excuse for language that is offensive. 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.”
Aliu called Peters’ apology “misleading, insincere and concerning.” Following those events, and others involving coaches, the NHL set up a hotline for players and staff to anonymously report incidents.
Signed to a two-year deal, Peters will coach an Avtomobilist team that lost in the first round of the Gagarin Cup playoffs. The league suspended postseason play because of the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“The future is a little bit unpredictable, obviously,” Peters said on the call. “It’s going to take us time to come out of us situation that we’re in as far as the global pandemic, but I’m excited about the opportunity to go to the KHL and challenge myself to be able to do a good job for a full season, two seasons, however long it might be.”
Peters will be joined on the bench by former NHL assistant coach Perry Pearn, ex-NHLer German Titov, Evgeny Shaldybin and Konstantin Vlasov.
Former NHLers Pavel Datsyuk, who was a part of the Red Wings when Peters was an assistant coach under Mike Babcock, and Nigel Dawes both played on Avtomobilist this season. However, both have contracts expiring at the end of the month.
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