In case you missed it earlier this week former NHLer Akim Aliu, the man who came forward with his story about facing racial discrimination from former NHL head coach Bill Peters, penned a very sincere account of the struggles he has endured as a minority in the hockey world.
Peters, of course, was outed for using racist language with Aliu during their time together with the Rockford IceHogs during the 2009-10 AHL season. When Aliu’s allegations came to light it triggered an entire “Me Too” movement in the NHL that saw Peters dismissed from his job as the Calgary Flames’ head coach. Other prominent hockey coaches like Mike Babcock, Marc Crawford and Darryl Sutter were also put on notice for what many felt was unfair and cruel treatment.
But that's not all Aliu had to endure during his time in the hockey world. He also shared a recounting of the horrific hazing incident that he dealt with during his time with the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires and the lack of empathy or support shown by that team’s coaching staff. In effect, Aliu pointed his finger squarely at the hockey world to “be better” and foster better experiences and surroundings for players, especially younger players.
Whether you agree with Aliu’s assertions or not, there’s no denying that his article was the talk of the hockey world yesterday.
Just hours later Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner shared his own thoughts on Twitter. Specifically, Lehner talked about taking ownership of his own mistakes and having faith in a higher power. Innocent, right? Not on Twitter.
Angry hockey fans on Twitter ripped into Lehner for his insensitivity to the day’s topic.
First, check out Lehner's post:
Now check out some of these replies:
Look, I'm not going to sit here and tell you that racism doesn't exist and that minorities don't have a more difficult path, specifically in the hockey world. But, what I will say is that I agree with Lehner's sentiment. While I'm not religious personally, I do believe that personal responsibility can take you far in life.
I don't believe that Lehner intended to undermine Aliu's message at all. In fact, Lehner confirmed as much after being accused of racism.
Check it out:
To me, I just saw a guy trying to put some positive energy out into the hockey world. Good to see that that is indeed the case. Keep on, keepin' on, Robin.