Ex-Carolina GM Ron Francis issues statement on Bill Peters physical assault allegations
'I took this matter very seriously,' current GM of Seattle expansion team says
A day after Bill Peters resigned as head coach of the Calgary Flames following an allegation that he used a racial slur against a former player while both were in the minor leagues, his former boss in Carolina spoke out about his conduct with the Hurricanes.
Former Carolina general manager Ron Francis issued a statement Saturday afternoon describing an instance where after a game, a group of Hurricanes players and staff members told him of alleged physical incidents involving two players and Peters.
"I took this matter very seriously. I took immediate action to address the matter and briefed ownership," said Francis, who is now the GM of the as-yet unnamed expansion team in Seattle. "To my knowledge, no further such incidents occurred."
Francis's statement runs contrary to that of Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos, who on Wednesday told the Seattle Times that he would have fired Peters in a "nanosecond" had he been made aware of the physical-abuse allegations.
Statement from Ron Francis: <a href="https://t.co/2UVFGuOECH">pic.twitter.com/2UVFGuOECH</a>—@PR_NHL
Also on Wednesday, current Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour corroborated the allegations of physical assault during a media availability.
Brind'Amour was working as an assistant for the Carolina Hurricanes under Peters during the time when the physical abuse was alleged to have occurred.
WATCH | Carolina coach Brind'Amour discusses physical abuse allegations against Peters:
"To me, it's what happened after that I'm proud about actually, the way the players handled it, and the way the support staff handled it, which was to bring it to management right away," Brind'Amour said.
"And then management handled it directly and never heard of it again. And never saw anything else after that. So, it was definitely dealt with, in my opinion, correctly, and that's the last I need to talk about it."
Peters resigned as head coach of the Flames on Friday after former NHL player Akim Aliu tweeted Monday night that he was the target of a racial slur by a former coach during the 2009-2010 season while a member of the American Hockey League's Rockford IceHogs.
Not very surprising the things we’re hearing about Babcock. Apple doesn’t fall far from the Tree, same sort of deal with his protege in YYC. Dropped the N bomb several times towards me in the dressing room in my rookie year because he didn’t like my choice of music. First one to—@Dreamer_Aliu78
The 30-year-old Aliu, who born in Nigeria and raised in Ukraine and Canada, never referred to Peters by name, but did reference Calgary's airport code "YYC" when writing about the coach allegedly involved in the matter.
On Tuesday, former NHL defenceman Michal Jordan alleged Peters struck him and another player while the two were with the Hurricanes.
1) Never wish anything bad to the person but you get what you deserve Bill.After years making it to the NHL had experience with the worst coach ever by far.Kicking me and punching other player to the head during the game...—@TheBigCzech23
2) then pretending like nothing happened...couldnt believe my eyes what can happen in the best league.. happy that i dont have to go thrue that stuff on daily basics anymore.—@TheBigCzech23
Peters issued an apology in a letter addressed to Calgary GM Brad Treliving on Wednesday night and, following an investigation by the Flames and NHL, resigned on Friday.
"It would have been inappropriate of me to comment publicly while an active investigation was being conducted by another team," Francis said in Saturday's statement. "I will not comment on this matter further."
Aliu, for his part, called Peters's apology "misleading, insincere and concerning." Peters's statement also made no mention of Jordan and his allegation.
With files from CBC Sports