Ron Francis says that when he extended Bill Peters' contract in 2016 while the two were with the Carolina Hurricanes, he felt the physical abuse allegation involving Peters and former Hurricanes defenseman Michal Jordan had been dealt with.
“We looked where the team was and how it was playing,” Francis, the former Hurricanes general manager, told the Seattle Times' Geoff Baker. “It was moving in the right direction ... And quite honestly, we looked at that (physical abuse) situation. We addressed it and we felt it was behind him.”
On Nov. 26, Jordan tweeted that during his time in Carolina, Peters kicked him and punched another player in the head on the bench during a game. Francis didn't provide a direct answer when asked if he'd handle the situation differently given the recent abuse allegations against numerous hockey coaches.
“I think you deal with it the best you can with the situation you have at the time,” he said. “... I don’t claim to be perfect. I make mistakes. I try to learn every day from the people I talk with in situations."
Francis said in a Nov. 30 statement that a group of players and hockey staff members told him about the Peters incidents at the time - which would have been between 2014 and 2016 - and he "took immediate action to address the matter and briefed ownership."
The 56-year-old gave his account of the events after former Carolina majority owner Peter Karmanos claimed he wasn't informed of the incidents. Karmanos said he would have fired Peters "in a nanosecond" had Francis made him aware of the physical abuse allegations.
The Calgary Flames also conducted an investigation into Peters' actions following Akim Aliu's revelation that the coach directed the N-word toward him multiple times while the two were with the AHL's Rockford IceHogs in 2009-10. Peters, who had been at the helm in Calgary since 2018, resigned from his post with the Flames in November 2019.
On Tuesday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman laid out the league's initial plan to address inappropriate conduct, which included a zero-tolerance policy for teams not reporting incidents, a mandatory diversity and inclusion program for coaches and top-level executives, and a potential whistleblower hotline.