Ex-Flames coach Bill Peters hired by KHL team

Bill Peters made a return to professional hockey on Wednesday when he was appointed coach of Russian hockey club Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg.

Peters resigned as coach of the Calgary Flames last year following allegations he previously used racial slurs and struck players.

“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 during a video conference call with Russian media.

“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.”

Peters was speaking remotely and it wasn’t clear when he would join Avtomobilist amid Russia’s extensive travel restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The future is a little bit unpredictable, obviously,” he said. “It’s going to take us time to come out of us situation that we’re in as far as the global pandemic, but I’m excited about the opportunity to go to the KHL and challenge myself to be able to do a good job for a full season, two seasons, however long it might be.”

Peters’ resignation from the Flames came after former NHL player Akim Aliu, who is of Nigerian and Ukranian descent, alleged that Peters used a racial slur towards him several times during the 2009-10 season while the two were with the Chicago Blackhawks’ top minor league affiliate in Rockford, Ill. Aliu’s Toronto-based lawyer didn’t respond to an email request for comment from The Canadian Press.

Peters resigned on Nov. 29 after an investigation by the team. He apologized to the Flames and general manager Brad Treliving for using “offensive language” in Rockford two days before his resignation.

Former NHL defenceman Michal Jordan also alleged Peters kicked him while the two were with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Avtomobilist’s top player is Pavel Datsyuk, but Peters said he didn’t know whether the 41-year-old former Detroit Red Wings centre would stay with the club for next season. Datsyuk’s contract expires at the end of the month.

Former NHLer Nigel Dawes, who is of Jamaican descent, has played the last two seasons with that team.

The Kontinental Hockey League abandoned its 2019-20 season last month, midway through the playoffs, saying that the pandemic made it impossible to continue.

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