NHL

Aliu issues statement in wake of Bill Peters' KHL appointment, continues push for equality

Former NHL player Akim Aliu, who said he was the target of racial slurs by former Calgary Flames head coach Bill Peters, issued a statement on Thursday after Peters was hired by KHL team Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg.

'I believe in second chances for everyone,' former Flames forward says

On Thursday, Akim Aliu, seen above during a warm-up with the Calgary Flames in 2013, said he believes in second chances after Bill Peters was appointed head coach of the KHL's Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg. (Derek Leung/Getty Images)

Former NHL player Akim Aliu, who said he was the target of racial slurs by former Calgary Flames head coach Bill Peters, issued a statement on Thursday after Peters was hired by KHL team Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg.

Peters, 53, resigned as head coach of the Calgary Flames in November amid allegations he used a racial slur against Aliu several times while the two were with the Chicago Blackhawks' American Hockey League affiliate during the 2009-10 season. He is also alleged to have hit players while he was head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Aliu, 30, said he does not begrudge Peters for seeking new employment, but ensured he will continue to advocate for equal opportunity.

"Hockey is for all. I believe in second chances for everyone, that we can all find forgiveness in our heart, and that real positive change is coming if we continue to push forward together," Aliu said in a statement shared on Twitter. "I don't resent a man for finding work, but I will fight to make sure those same opportunities are available to everyone, on and off the ice, regardless of race or ethnicity."

On a video call with Russian media following his hiring, Peters said he's used the incident as an opportunity to better himself.

"I think as time goes on we all grow and improve and become better versions of ourselves, and I'm no different than that. You learn from all the experiences that you're in, and you become better," Peters said Wednesday.

"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."

With files from The Canadian Press

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