Something stinks here, something stinks very badly.
You all of course have already heard every little detail about the stories surrounding now former Calgary Flames head coach Bill Peters this week. Peters was accused of both physically and verbally abusing some of his former players in a series of revelations that came directly from some of the players who had been involved in the incidents or who were victims of his abuse. For his part Peters himself did not deny the accusations when he issued a public apology this week and I believe it is largely for that reason that he was quickly fired by the Calgary Flames. What were once mere accusations now seem very much to have the ring of truth to them, but it is easy to forget that Peters was not the only man in a position of power involved in this story.
The young players who made this accusations should have been able to turn to someone for help in their moment of need and perhaps they even attempted to do so. Former Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos, who owned the team at the time of the alleged incidents, was asked this week if the problems had ever reached his desk. Karmanos as you would expect was quick to deny ever having any knowledge of the incidents and even appeared to throw his former general manager, National Hockey League legend Ron Francis, under the bus during his comments on the incident.
“I’m pretty upset,” said Karmanos as per the Seattle Times. “And I have my calls in to Ronnie as well. I think he’s the one who’s going to have to tell people what he did when he found out that the coach had done these things.’’
Ronnie is of course a reference to Francis and that is particularly damning commentary from Karmanos who claimed that he had only just learned of these incidents due to the news reports that were published on the topic this week. The problem now is that we know beyond any doubt that someone is not telling the truth here.
On Saturday Ron Francis released his own statement on the matter and much in the way that Karmanos threw him under the bus with his comments, Francis did the same in return. In his statement Francis made it very clear that the matter had been brought to ownership and had been summarily ignored by that very same ownership.
When I was general manager in Carolina, after a game, a group of players and hockey staff members made me aware of the physical incidents involving two players and Bill Peters. I took this matter very seriously.
I took immediate action to address the matter and briefed ownership.
To my knowledge, no further such incidents occurred.
It would have been inappropriate for me to comment publicly while an active investigation was being conducted by another team. I will not comment on this matter further.
Obviously the statements from both Karmanos and Francis are mutually exclusive, and only one of them can possibly be telling the truth here. I can't tell you who to believe as I genuinely have no idea what went on behind the closed doors of the Hurricanes organization. That being said this statement does confirm that Francis knew about the abuse and the lack of action against Peters that followed is disturbing. That should damage his credibility in my estimation however I will admit that we do not know whether it was Francis that failed to take action of his own accord or if it was ownership that prevented him from doing so.