SUNRISE, Fla. – Former Florida Panthers general manger and president of hockey operations Dale Tallon is being investigated by the National Hockey League for alleged racial comments made during his tenure with the franchise.
The NHL confirmed the investigation to Local 10 News on Friday, adding that there would be no further comment at this time.
George Richards of Florida Hockey Now first reported on the investigation. Citing an unnamed source, FHN said the inquiry stemmed from “racially-charged” comments made by Tallon while the Panthers were in the Toronto safety bubble earlier this summer.
Additional reports indicated that the scope of the investigation covers more than one alleged incident, which Local 10 has since confirmed.
The Panthers did not respond to a message from Local 10 requesting a comment.
Tallon, however, did respond to the allegations. He told Florida Hockey Now on Friday afternoon that he was not a racist and has never used any such language.
“I have never said anything of the sort,” Tallon told FHN. “I am all for peace, am all for this alliance and what everyone is trying to do right now.”
News of the investigation comes during a time of great civil unrest, with the NHL postponing two days of Stanley Cup Playoff games in order to bring more awareness to the ongoing problem of racial injustice in our society.
The NBA, WNBA, MLS and MLB each postponed some or all of their games as well over the past several days.
The Panthers announced that the team had officially parted ways with Tallon back on Aug. 10, three days after Florida was eliminated from the Stanley Cup Qualifying Round by the New York Islanders.
At the time, team owner Vincent Viola had kind words for Tallon on his way out.
“For the last decade, Dale raised the team’s profile, attracted key players to South Florida and brought character and class to our franchise,” Viola said in a statement released by the team.
Tallon was hired as the Panthers GM in 2010, spending ten seasons in the front office but never making any major headway toward building a consistently successful team.
Florida has not won a postseason series in 24 years, dating back to the franchise’s improbable run to the 1996 Stanley Cup Final.
The Panthers have qualified for the playoffs four times since then (five if you count the 2020 Qualifying Round), in 1997, 2000, 2012 and 2016.
The team is still in the process of searching for Tallon’s replacement.