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Akim Aliu pleased after meeting with Gary Bettman and Bill Daly: ‘Big change is coming’

Akim Aliu, the former NHLer whose allegation toward Bill Peters served as a catalyst for the former Calgary Flames head coach’s resignation, met with the NHL on Tuesday to discuss the situation after the league offered him an invitation to do so, as reported by TSN’s Frank Seravalli.

According to TSN’s Matthew Scianitti, the meeting went well for Aliu’s party.

MORE: Hockey Canada issues statement in wake of Bill Peters scandal

“I want to thank everyone for their support, it obviously means a lot to me,” Aliu reportedly said via Scianitti’s Twitter on Tuesday. “It’s been a rough week but we had some great discussions with Gary (Bettman) and Bill (Daly). They couldn’t have been kinder and (more) receptive to the message we’re trying to bring. I think there is some big change coming. It’s long overdue and I’m excited to see it come to fruition.”

The exact meeting agenda is not public information, but securing an audience with the NHL commissioner and the league’s chief legal officer to discuss this topic is a step in the right direction for the fight against verbal abuse in hockey’s biggest league.

Also releasing a statement, the NHL had the following to say of its meeting with Aliu: “We are pleased to have met with Akim Aliu and had a productive and candid conversation. Today’s discussion is part of a broader, thorough review and process that the League is undertaking. We share a mutual objective: ensuring that hockey is an open and inclusive sport at all levels.”

A Board of Governors meeting is set for next Monday and Tuesday. The League will have no further comment until after said meeting.

The NHL Coaches’ Association also made a statement saying, “We believe the NHL is a league built on hard work, respect, and teamwork. It is a coach’s job to understand how best to motivate players while respecting them as individuals and valuing them as people. Coaching philosophies differ from coach to coach, and season to season, but there are lines that cannot be crossed and there is certainly no room in the NHL, or anywhere else, for abuse behavior of any kind. The National Hockey League, including management, players, and coaches has evolved, and the NHLCA is committed to working with the NHL and NHLPA to ensure respectful working environments for everyone.”

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