Akim Aliu slams NHL for fighting harder for hockey in Arizona than it does for diversity

Published February 15, 2022 at 1:40 PM

Former NHLer, Akim Aliu took to Twitter on Monday night to criticize the NHL for their business practices. And when we say "the NHL", we really mean "Commissioner, Gary Bettman".

Aliu is a Nigerian-born, Canadian-Ukrainian who has played professional hockey for several years including seven in the National Hockey League. He was at the center of controversy in November 2019, when, while a free agent, Aliu went public with allegations that then Calgary Flames coach Bill Peters, while coaching the AHL's Rockford IceHogs, directed racial epithets at him in the locker room. As a result, Peters submitted his resignation four days later.

The incident was among the first in what has been a long list of racial allegations toward minorities in the hockey community, all of which led to Aliu's co-founding of the Hockey Diversity Alliance to address intolerance and racism in hockey.

Monday's criticism by Aliu surrounds the League's continued dedication to making the Arizona Coyotes a viable product and his perceived lack thereof on its' part when it comes to diversifying the sport. Aliu didn't mince words:

Despite the fact that the Coyotes franchise hasn't been financially successful in the now-26-year history of the franchise, Bettman refuses to move the Coyotes to another locale. The Commissioner's most recent endorsement of the Coyotes is his supporting the team's plan to play the next few years at a low-revenue 5,000-seat facility at Arizona State University, a plan which has widely been ridiculed outside of the League offices. We ran a story related to the hockey community's response to the announcement here on on Monday.

The move to ASU comes as a result of the team basically being booted from Glendale's Gila River Arena in the near future for, among other things, financial irresponsibility. And when we say "financial irresponsibility", we really mean "the Arizona Coyotes forgot to pay their $1.3M tax bill".
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