The Boston Bruins are parting ways with prospect Mitchell Miller, the team announced on Sunday.
“The decision to sign this young man was made after careful consideration of the facts as we were aware of them: that at 14-years-old he made a poor decision that led to a juvenile conviction,” Bruins President Cam Neely said in a statement on the team website. “We understood this to be an isolated incident and that he had taken meaningful action to reform and was committed to ongoing personal development. Based on that understanding we offered him a contract.
“Based on new information, we believe it is the best decision at this time to rescind the opportunity for Mitchell Miller to represent the Boston Bruins. We hope that he continues to work with professionals and programs to further his education and personal growth.”
Boston signed Miller to an entry-level contract on Friday, and immediately drew significant criticism across the hockey world. Even members of the Bruins voiced their displeasure with the signing, with captain Patrice Bergeron telling Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, “it goes against what we are as a culture and as a team.”
Miller was charged with assault and a violation of the Ohio Safe Schools Act in 2016 after he admitted to bullying a black classmate with a learning disability. The student, Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, said that Miller taunted him for years, repeatedly using the “N-word”, hitting him, and once tricking him into eating a candy that Miller had wiped in a urinal.
After the story broke, the Arizona Coyotes, who had selected Miller with the 110th overall pick of the 2016 NHL Draft, renounced their rights to the defenseman, and the 20-year-old was dropped by the University of North Dakota men’s hockey program.
“We are sorry that this decision has overshadowed the incredible work the members of our organization do to support diversity and inclusion efforts. We will continue to stand against bullying and racism in all its forms,” Neely said.
“To Isaiah and his family, my deepest apologies if this signing made you and other victims feel unseen and unheard. We apologize for the deep hurt and impact we have caused.”
On Saturday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said while the Bruins were free to sign Miller, he was not yet eligible to play in the NHL until he received clearance from the league. He also added that he had not been consulted prior to Boston signing Miller.
Boston was planning on assigning Miller to the AHL’s Providence Bruins before ultimately deciding to part ways with him.
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