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Sports Akim Aliu reveals Colorado Eagles staffer dressed in blackface, his jersey in 2011

10:13  12 december  2019
10:13  12 december  2019 Source:   sportingnews.com

Flames head coach Bill Peters apologizes for Akim Aliu incident

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Report: Colorado Eagles staff member dressed in blackface as Akim Aliu during 2011 party. Akim Aliu played in 10 games for the Colorado Eagles in the 2011 -12 season. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, his time with the team included seeing a team staffer dress up like him while

The Colorado Eagles issued an apology to Akim Aliu on Wednesday after he opened up about a racist incident that occurred during his time with the The news comes after Akim Aliu spoke with the Wall Street Journal about how Deynzer dressed in blackface back in 2011 at a Halloween Party.

  Akim Aliu reveals Colorado Eagles staffer dressed in blackface, his jersey in 2011 © Provided by Sporting News

Less than 48 hours after NHL commissioner Gary Bettman released a plan for how the league and its clubs will handle abusive conduct moving forward, The Wall Street Journal published a story Wednesday shedding light on a racist incident in 2011.

Akim Aliu, who wrote on Twitter in November about racist comments by then-Rockford Ice Hogs coach Bill Peters that eventually led to Peters' resignation in late November as coach of the Calgary Flames, told the Journal of an episode that occurred when he was a member of the ECHL's Colorado Eagles. Aliu, who was born in Nigeria, was invited to the team's Halloween party, where head equipment manager Tony Deynzer was wearing an Afro-style wig, blackface and a custom jersey sporting Aliu's number and nickname, "Dreamer."

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During his brief tenure with the AHL's Colorado Eagles , Akim Aliu says a team staff member dressed as the hockey player in blackface for Halloween.

The Colorado Avalanche have put Tony Deynzer, the head equipment manager of their AHL affiliate, on administrative leave after former player Akim Aliu told the Wall Street Journal that Deynzer dressed up as Aliu , wearing blackface , at a team Halloween party in 2011 .

"Guys just started laughing," Aliu told the WSJ, adding that his teammates made him pose with Deynzer, who is the only one smiling in the picture. "All I can do is tell my story."

"I didn’t even grasp the idea of how vicious of a thing that is to do," Aliu added

MORE: NHL's new policies, changes following recent abuse allegations

Deynzer still works for the Eagles. ESPN reported that the club has placed him on administrative leave. The Eagles also issued an apology to Aliu on Twitter:

"As an organization, the discovery of this event deeply saddens us. Although we had no prior knowledge, that doesn't excuse or diminish the fact that this has hurt a fellow human being. Rest assured, our organization holds no ego too big or stature so proud that we are above apologies for any wrongdoings. As a family-oriented organization, we wholeheartedly seek your forgiveness and sincerely apologize. We are truly very sorry, and we will also assure you that this behavior is not and never will be acceptable in our organization."

The Eagles were an affiliate of the Winnipeg Jets at the time and now are the Colorado Avalanche's AHL affiliate.

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The Colorado Avalanche have put Tony Deynzer, the head equipment manager of their AHL affiliate, on administrative leave after former player Akim Aliu told the Wall Street Journal that Deynzer dressed up as Aliu , wearing blackface , at a team Halloween party in 2011 .

Akim Aliu had been a member of the Colorado Eagles , a minor-league hockey team, for just a small part of the season in 2011 when he received an invitation to the team’s Halloween party. The team’s players, staff, management and even their families would be there. A couple of days before the party

Aliu, a second-round draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2007, played in 10 games with the Eagles. He told the WSJ he asked for a trade a few weeks after the incident because of stress that required hospitalization. The Jets traded him to the Flames on Jan. 29, 2012, for John Negrin. Aliu played in seven games over two seasons with Calgary, netting two goals and three points.

Last week, Aliu met with Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly and reportedly informed them of what transpired. After Bettman released his plan Monday, Aliu responded on Twitter.

"I am encouraged the commissioner embraced many of the changes we proposed at the meeting," he wrote. "Now the hard work begins of focusing on specifics and implementing policy that will make this sport more diverse, safer, and accountable. We have to ensure that future generations of hockey players do not face the barriers and racism that I have throughout my career. Together we can do something truly great and transformative for hockey."

Amid Blackface and Abuse Allegations, Hockey Wonders Why Young Canadians Don’t Play .
Akim Aliu figures he was 12 or 13 years old the first time he heard a racial slur directed toward him at a hockey rink. “It starts really early,” he said. “With parents I had a couple of incidents where people would yell racial swears while I was playing. I was old enough to understand exactly what was being said.” Insults would soon come from opponents and opposing fans. “You notice really quickly that you stand out when you’re a minority player,” said Aliu, a Nigerian-Ukrainian who went on to become a second-round selection of the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2007 N.H.L. draft.

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