Less than three days after signing Mitchell Miller’s entry-level contract, the Boston Bruins announced Sunday that they would cut ties with the controversial potential client.
The decision to sign the 20-year-old defender has drawn intense criticism from the moment the Bruins announced it on Friday. Miller was previously in the fourth round of the draft pick by the Arizona Coyotes in 2020. Shortly after he was drafted, a report came out on Arizona Republic He detailed how Miller and another middle school classmate were convicted in juvenile court in 2016 for racial abuse and bullying of Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, who is black. In the report, Meyer-Krothers’ mother said Miller began abusing her son in second grade while also using frequent racist adjectives.
Bruins president Cam Neely said in a statement Sunday night that the decision to sign with Miller was “made after careful consideration of the facts as we were aware of them.” Neely said the team believed Miller’s abuse of Meyer-Crews was an “isolated incident” and that Miller “took meaningful action to reform and committed to ongoing personal development.”
Neely said that “based on new information,” the franchise decided to cancel the contract awarded to Miller.
Neely also said the Bruins family will reassess the internal screening process.
“To Isaiah and his family, I deeply apologize if this signature made you and other victims feel invisible and unheard,” said Neely. “We apologize for the profound hurt and impact we have caused.”
Miller had his rights relinquished by the Wolves less than a month after he was chosen. He was also discharged from his scholarship at the University of North Dakota, where he was enrolled as a freshman.
He sat in the 2020-21 season but started playing again in 2021-22 with USHL’s Tri-City Storm. He finished top of the league in goalscorers with 39 and has 83 points – both season records for a defensive man – in 60 appearances. He was named USHL Defender of the Year and Player of the Year.
The Bruins initially planned to have Miller play for the AHL’s Providence Bruins branch. On Saturday, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said the league had not been consulted by the Bruins about signing and that Miller “was not eligible at this point to enter the NHL.” Buttman said the league would eventually have to clear Miller to play while also saying it “needs to see a whole bunch of things” going forward.
Bruins forward Nick Foligno On Saturday, he said it was a “tough thing” for the team to find out that the organization had signed Miller.
“I won’t lie to you,” Foligno said. “I don’t think anyone has been very happy with how proud we are to say that this is a group that cares so much about ourselves and how we carry ourselves and how we treat people.”
Captain Bruins Patrice Bergeron He said the culture the team had built was at odds with the kind of behavior Miller displayed. What Miller did, he said, was “unacceptable, and we don’t stand by that.”
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