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Bill Peters, who resigned from Flames after using slurs, gets KHL job with Yekaterinburg Avtomobilist
8:50 AM ET
  • Emily KaplanESPN

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      Emily Kaplan is ESPN’s national NHL reporter.

Bill Peters has been hired as the head coach of Yekaterinburg Avtomobilist in Russia’s KHL.

Peters, 53, resigned as coach of the Calgary Flames in November, days after a former player, Akim Aliu, came forward and said the coach directed racial epithets toward him while they were in the minors 10 years ago. The NHL launched an investigation into Peters at the time of his resignation.

“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’ deal with Yekaterinburg is for two years. Avtomobilist finished in second place in the Kharlamov Division but lost in the first round of the Gagarin Cup playoffs to Sibir. The league has since canceled the rest of the playoffs because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Before his stint in Calgary, Peters coached the Carolina Hurricanes from 2014 to ’18, and he coached Canada at the world championship in 2016 and 2018.

Aliu’s disclosure about Peters ignited a reckoning in the NHL, as other incidents of abusive behavior and misconduct by coaches emerged. In response, the NHL set up anonymous whistleblower hotlines and said it would implement new mandatory training for all coaches and front-office executives on a yearly basis.

Peters acknowledged the incident with Aliu in a letter of apology. Peters said the comments were made in a “moment of frustration.”

“Although it was an isolated and immediately regrettable incident, I take responsibility for what I said,” Peters wrote. Aliu said he found Peters’ letter of apology to the Flames “misleading, insincere and concerning.”

Perry Pearn, German Titov, Evgeny Shaldybin and Konstantin Vlasov will be assistant coaches for Peters in Yekaterinburg. There are several former NHL players on Avtomobilist’s roster, including Pavel Datsyuk, Peter Holland and Nigel Dawes. Dawes is a free agent this summer.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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