I didn't know anything about Akim Aliu beyond the fact that he had a cool name, and took the time to read up on him. His Wikipedia entry is fascinating.
I remember that whole Steve Downie encounter in junior, I'd kind of forgotten that as one of the reasons I dislike that guy. Good on Akim Aliu for standing up for himself and refusing to go along with these mindless hazing rituals, which have to be stamped out of minor hockey. There's hazing and then there's abuse, and it appears that the Junior Hockey world maybe doesn't understand the difference.
Unfortunately though, Mr. Aliu had to live through it, endure the consequences, and that can't have helped his career. With his cultural background, it's not hard to understand that he has had difficulty integrating into the NHL and realizing the potential he has if only due to his physical gifts.
As it is, I'm glad the Bulldogs are giving him a shot, he has lots of AHL experience, can play a little bit, will bring some physicality to support Nick Tarnaski and Stefan Fournier and others in that department. If he starts to put things together, which is admittedly a long shot, we'll have first crack at signing him to an NHL contract.
Especially now that I know a little more about this young man, I can't help but wish him the best of luck.