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Former Flames Coach Bill Peters Gets Hired By KHL Team

If you gave me a list of countries back in November to make odds on where Bill Peters would end up after he left the Calgary Flames in disgrace, Russia would 100% have been the overwhelming favorite. Because Russia.

I certainly wasn't surprised that Peters found a head coaching gig again and that it was in Russia. Human/civil rights isn't particularly high on the priority list for the Russian government. The vast majority of the place doesn't care what Peters said to Akim Aliu, a Black player who he coached in the AHL years ago. So it can't be all that surprising that Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg brought him onboard. But I do wonder if it was a surprise to Nigel Dawes, a Black player from Winnipeg who has been in the KHL for nine seasons and is currently a member of the team though his contract does expire in two weeks. In case you don't remember what Peters said to his own player...

“He walked in before a morning pre-game skate and said ‘Hey Akim, I’m sick of you playing that n----- s---,’ ” Aliu told TSN, with Peters, who was then the Ice Hogs head coach, referring to Aliu’s selection of hip-hop music. “He said ‘I’m sick of hearing this n-----s f------ other n-----s in the ass stuff.’

(Even reading that again months after the firing, I still can't fucking believe a pro coach in North America said that to one of his players in this century.)

I'm not here to say Bill Peters should never be allowed to coach again. But we all fuck up in life and sometimes the consequences are commensurate with the error. This feels like one of these times. In a league that is always touting diversity and hockey being for everyone, the NHL can not have a guy behind the bench who spoke to a player like that a decade ago (i.e. recent enough to know better). If you think Peters is gonna work his way back into the NHL after "learning from his mistakes" in Russia as the NHL is on course to get even more diverse over the next few years, I just don't see a team hiring him when there will be so many other qualified candidates without that mark on their CV.

Forgiveness isn't mine to give. But even if it is given (or has been), it certainly doesn't entitle anybody to a job.

UPDATE: As soon as Dawes found out about the hiring, he said that he'd be leaving the team (i.e. not re-signing). The team was looking for an import coach and ultimately hired Peters after a recommendation from star Pavel Datsyuk. Datsyuk's contract expires on the same day as Dawes but he will be much more likely to re-up now that the team hired the guy he suggested. Sounds like an absolute shitshow (i.e. business as usual in the KHL).