Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving announced that coach Bill Peters will not be behind the bench Wednesday for the game at the Buffalo Sabres, as the investigation into whether Peters directed racial slurs toward a former player continues.

The statement came hours after Treliving announced Tuesday that Peters had not been fired as the team looks into the matter. Treliving cited the “serious nature” of the investigation, saying that the Flames “take it with extreme seriousness.”

Sportsnet reported earlier Tuesday that the Flames had fired Peters, but Treliving told reporters that he “has not been relieved of his duties; we are continuing this ongoing investigation right now.”

Associate coach Geoff Ward will handle head-coaching duties vs. the Sabres.

“Our review into the allegations from last evening continues,” Treliving said. “This is a very serious matter, and we want to be thorough in our review. We will have no further comment until our review is complete.”

Peters was not on the ice with the team as it practiced in Buffalo on Tuesday, staying at the team hotel. Ward oversaw practice as well, which included a brief huddle with the players at center ice.

The allegations came from Akim Aliu, who played for Peters in 2009-10 with the Rockford IceHogs, the AHL affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Aliu posted a tweet Monday night that read: “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.”

Aliu’s tweet came days after several former players criticized recently fired Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock for his coaching tactics and intimidation of young players. Babcock was Peters’ college coach and mentored him afterward. Peters was also an assistant coach on Babcock’s staff with the Detroit Red Wings from 2011 to 2014.

Aliu addressed his allegations to TSN on Tuesday. He said Peters told him to stop playing hip-hop and used a racial slur and curse word. Aliu said he did not confront Peters at the time.

“What am I going to say? I was 20 years old and a first-year pro. I was too scared to speak up,” Aliu told TSN. “I beat myself up every day over it.”

Two of Aliu’s Rockford teammates, Simon Pepin and Peter MacArthur, independently corroborated Aliu’s account to TSN on Tuesday.

In a statement Tuesday, the NHL called the alleged behavior “repugnant and unacceptable” and said it would thoroughly look into the matter.

The Blackhawks responded to the allegations in a statement Tuesday.

“The alleged actions by a former coach toward Akim Aliu while with the Rockford IceHogs are something we take seriously,” the team said. “The purported incident had not been reported or brought to our attention prior to yesterday and had no effect on any player personnel decision regarding Mr. Aliu.”

Aliu, now 30, was born in Nigeria but grew up in Ukraine and Canada. He most recently played for the Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL in 2018-19. He played seven games in the NHL in the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons — both with the Flames. However, Peters was not the coach at the time.

Aliu followed his accusations on Twitter by posting: “First one to admit I rebelled against him. Wouldn’t you? And instead of remedying the situation, he wrote a letter to John McDonough and Stan Bowman to have me sent down to the ECHL. 20-year-old on pace for 20 goals in his first pro year with zero PP/PK time was off to a great start in his pro career.”

Aliu told TSN that he would have accepted Peters’ apology if he had received one.

McDonough is the president of the Blackhawks, and Bowman is the general manager.

The Flames, one year after landing the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference with a 107-point regular season, have struggled this season under Peters. They will bring an 11-12-4 record into the game with the Sabres and are on the outside of the West playoff race.

Information from ESPN’s Emily Kaplan was used in this report.



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