Former Calgary Flames forward Akim Aliu warming up for a road game in the NHL.
Photo credit: Sporting News

Outspoken NHL Activist Akim Aliu Signs New Deal

Published March 20, 2024 at 3:02 PM

This afternoon reports are confirming that NHL veteran and activist Akim Aliu is signing a new pro contract with the Sharks organization. Aliu returns to the NHL after a long hiatus from the league.

Reports from several sources have confirmed this afternoon that Akim Aliu has signed a contract with the San Jose Sharks. Aliu is well known for his activism within the hockey community for more equality.

Aliu has been working toward a comeback to professional hockey for several years now. His original run was cut short due to the the way he was treated by former Calgary Flames coach Bill Peters. Aliu came out in 2019 with serious allegations against Peters calling out Peters for using racist remarks.

Aliu's criticism of Peters did put the hockey world on notice and force him to step down from the Calgary Flames. However, it would not be long before Peters would return signing a contract to coach the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the WHL.

Aliu's hockey career has been put on hold for the last several years. The pandemic halted any momentum that Aliu had previously built up in a return to high level hockey. However that all changes today as Aliu has signed with the San Jose Sharks organization on an AHL contract.

Hearing Akim Aliu is returning to the ice.

#sjsharks GM Mike Grier confirmed today he is signing Aliu to an AHL tryout deal for remainder of the season with
. Aliu last played pro in 2020 in Czechia and has battled through years of surgeries and rehab, but his dream never wavered.

«We wanted to give him an opportunity to see what he can do,» Grier said.

As mentioned by Seravalli, Aliu's last taste of professional hockey came in 2019-20 when he played in Czechia. Aliu joined Czechia club HC Litvinov where he ended up playing a total of 6 games and tallied 3 points.

Aliu's new home with the San Jose Barracuda in the AHL will give Aliu multiple opportunities. The first of course is to play hockey at one of the highest levels in the world. The second is Aliu gets a larger platform to speak about the inclusion and diversity issues he has championed over the last several years.

With the AHL season winding down Aliu likely will only get into a few games. Regardless it will be great to see such an inspiring person get the opportunity he has been working for all this time.
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