Former NHL player Daniel Carcillo alleges he witnessed verbal abuse by ex-Los Angeles Kings head coach Darryl Sutter during the 2013-14 season.
Carcillo, who played 12 seasons in the NHL, said he repeatedly saw Sutter berate players in front of the whole team.
“The worst coach I’ve ever had in my life,” Carcillo told Global News, who played 26 games with the Kings. “He would demean people in front of the room, in front of everyone.”
“It’s just all about embarrassing guys,” he said.
Carcillo said Sutter’s abuse wasn’t just reserved for players. He alleged that on a team flight, the coach screamed at a female flight attendant to “f–k off” and remove the food being served because the team had lost.
“A lot of things like that went on, you know, and I couldn’t believe that this team was the team that won the Stanley Cup the year before.”
Global News has reached out to former teammates of Carcillo but has not independently verified his allegations.
Sutter steered the Los Angeles Kings to two Stanley Cup championships and joined the Anaheim Ducks as an advisor to the coaching staff in July 2019.
Global News attempted to reach Sutter through the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks, but did not receive a response. A spokesperson for the Anaheim Ducks declined to comment on the allegations.
Global also reached out to Sutter through the Sutter Fund — a charity based in Alberta — but did not receive a response.
The 35-year-old from Ontario won two Stanley Cups with the Chicago Blackhawks during his playing career and was nicknamed “car bomb” for his wild on-ice playing and fighting style.
Since his final season in 2015, Carcillo has become an outspoken critic of the “tough guy” mentality of the hockey world.
He’s called for an end to the locker room culture of hazing and has been an advocate for enforcers, many of whom suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive degenerative disease.
His best friend and teammate Steve Montador was among a spat of players found to have CTE and died by suicide.
Carcillo said he took to social media to reveal incidents of abuse following the accusations against Calgary Flames head coach Bill Peters, who is alleged to have used a racial slur against forward Akim Aliu, while both were with the AHL’s Rockford Ice Hogs a decade ago.
“What you saw happen these last two days and over the course of the last three weeks is a sort of reckoning that I’ve always believe needs to happen in the NHL,” Carcillo said. “I’ve been preaching this since I left the game from what I saw and what I experienced.
The Nigerian-born Aliu, who is no longer in the NHL, never referred to Peters by name, but referenced Calgary’s airport code “YYC” when writing about the alleged coach on Twitter. He told TSN the incident occurred when he was controlling the team’s music during the 2009-10 season.
“He walked in before a morning pre-game skate and said ‘Hey Akim, I’m sick of you playing that n—– s—,’ ”Aliu said.
Several players have said they witnessed the incident.
Peters is still employed by the team, but will not be coaching Wednesday night when the Flames visit the Buffalo Sabres amid an ongoing investigation by the Flames organization into the alleged slurs.
“This type of allegation, it’s repulsive,” Flames general manager Brad Treliving said Tuesday afternoon. “Now it’s my job to find out exactly what’s taken place.”
In a letter addressed to Treliving Wednesday night, Peters apologized to the Flames organization for using “offensive language … in a professional setting a decade ago.”
In the letter, which has been obtained by Global News, Peters then went on to say that it was “an isolated and immediately regrettable incident.”
“The statement was made in a moment of frustration and does not reflect my personal values,” Peters wrote. “After the incident, I was rightfully challenged about my use of language, and I immediately returned to the dressing room to apologize to the team
“I meant no disrespect in what I said, and it was not directed at anyone in particular.”
The letter however, which ended with Peters saying that he appreciated and supported the “thorough review” of the situation, made no mention of Aliu by name.
Other allegations against Peters have since come to light since Aliu first came forward, with NHL defenceman Michal Jordan alleging Peters kicked him and punched another player in the head during their time with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Current Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour, who worked as an assistant under Peters in Carolina, confirmed Jordan’s account on Wednesday.
“Talking about the incident with Bill, it for sure happened, the two issues that are in question,” he told reporters in New York.
“But, to me, it’s what happened after that I’m proud about, actually. The way the players handled it and the way the sports staff handled it, which was bring it to management right away and then management handled it correctly and never heard of it again.”
There was no mention of the allegations involving Jordan in Peters’ apology.
Carcillo said he is working towards ending the kind of culture that saw him repeatedly hazed and abused throughout his career, specifically during his time in the Ontario Hockey League.
Carcillo and his wife have started a foundation called Chapter 5, aimed at helping retired players and their families, especially those suffering from CTE or depression.
“People in Hockey Canada, in the OHL, in the NHL, I think certain people need to be removed from positions of power to be able to instill confidence back into parents,” he said.
“We have just scratched the surface and there’s going to be more stories to come.”