Flames coach apologizes for language used with black player

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Calgary Flames associate coach Geoff Ward gives instruction during an NHL hockey practice Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019, in Buffalo, N.Y. Flames general manager Brad Treliving says coach Bill Peters remains on the staff but wasnt certain whether hed be behind the bench for the next game. The team and the NHL are both investigating an allegation the Peters directed racial slurs at a player 10 years ago when the two were in the minors. Akim Aliu, a Nigerian-born player, says Peters dropped the N bomb several times in a dressing room during his rookie year. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

BUFFALO, NY – Calgary Flames coach Bill Peters acknowledged in a letter of apology on Wednesday that he used offensive language in dealing with a Nigerian-born player 10 years ago in the minors.

General manager Brad Treliving confirmed receipt of the letter, which was first posted on Twitter by TSN, a Canadian sports cable network, during the third period of Calgary’s 3-2 overtime win at Buffalo. Treliving would only say the Flames are reviewing the letter as part of their continuing investigation into Peters, and that he could have an update as early as Thursday.

Without specifically revealing the words he used, Peters wrote his comments to Akim Aliu were the source of both anger and disappointment.

“Although it was an isolated and immediately regrettable incident, I take responsibility for what I said,” Peters wrote, saying the comments were made in a “moment of frustration” and that his words didn’t mirror his “personal values.”

Those were Peters’ first comments in the three days since the NHL and the team began investigating allegations made by Aliu, who said Peters "dropped the N bomb several times" because he didn't like the player's choice of music. The alleged confrontation happened during the 2009-10 season while the two were with the Chicago Blackhawks minor league affiliate in Rockford, Illinois.

“I have regretted the incident since it happened and I now also apologize to anyone negatively affected by my words,” Peters wrote. “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.”

Treliving called it a “difficult three days for everyone.”

“This investigation we’re doing, I know everyone wants this done immediately and the world we live in is immediate,” Treliving said. “I hope you can appreciate we’re trying to do everything we possibly can to make sure we get it right and get all the information that needs to be gotten.”