In the wake of recent coaching scandals involving abusive behavior and misconduct, the NHL is taking steps to crack down on abuse and create an easier way for whistle-blowers to report inappropriate behavior to the league. Commissioner Gary Bettman outlined some of these plans during a press conference in Pebble Beach, California, on Monday night.
Bettman revealed that the league is planning to implement a hotline that players and team personnel can use to report instances of misconduct carried out by team officials. This hotline will be available to current and former players with an option to remain anonymous.
"Professionalism and respect have always been important to the League, but it is now a particularly important time to discuss it because everyone is entitled to a respectful workplace," said Bettman. "The world is changing for the better. This is an opportunity, and a moment, for positive change and this evolution should be expedited – for the benefit of everyone associated with the game we love.
"And even while change is taking effect, we still must acknowledge things that were wrong in the past. That acknowledgment allows those who were wronged to be heard, and it gives all of us an opportunity to prevent these things from happening again."
The league says it wants to make it easier and safer for cases of inappropriate conduct to be reported, and that there will be "zero tolerance" for teams failing to notify the league after such incidents. Bettman said teams that fail to report could be subject to "severe discipline."
In addition to the hotline, the league will also implement new mandatory training for all coaches and front office executives on a yearly basis. The new training program will focus on "counseling, consciousness raising, education and training on diversity and inclusion." The NHLPA and the NHL Coaches Association will work with external professionals to create that training course.
These changes come after several NHL coaches have face allegations of abusive and inappropriate behavior over the past few months.after a former player, Akim Aliu, came forward and alleged that Peters used racial slurs in the locker room -- something Peters later admitted to be true. Aliu met with Bettman and other NHL execs ahead of the league's presser Monday and helped lay some groundwork for the new policies.
"I am encouraged the commissioner embraced many of the changes we proposed at the meeting," said Aliu in a statement on Monday night. "Now the hard work begins of focusing on specifics and implement 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."
Multiple other players who played under Peters in Carolina said the coach had physically abused them on the bench, an allegation that current Hurricanes coach Rod Brind-Amour corroborated.
Los Angeles Kings, while O'Sullivan also accused Crawford of frequently using homophobic slurs.while the team investigates claims of misconduct from several former players, including Sean Avery and Patrick O'Sullivan. Avery and O'Sullivan both alleged that Crawford kicked and punched players on the bench during their time with the