Boston Bruins president Cam Neely said signing prospective Mitchell Miller was his biggest regret as an NHL executive, and expressed concern about the team’s botched review process.
“I am very upset that we let so many people down with our decision,” Neely said Monday. I’m proud of myself, but I failed there.”
The Bruins signed an entry-level contract on Friday, intending to send the 20-year-old defensive mirror to AHL Providence. However, the team announced on Sunday night that they were parting ways with Miller after a fierce backlash from fans, team players and commissioner Gary Bettman.
Bettmann said on Saturday: “I can’t say he’s qualified to come to the NHL.”
Miller was a fourth-round pick by the Arizona Coyotes in 2020, but an article appeared in 2016 that said he and another middle school classmate were convicted of assaulting and bullying Isiah Meyer Crothers. , his draft right was waived. He is a black student with a developmental disability. In the report, Meyer Crothers’ mother claimed Miller began abusing his son when he was in his sophomore year and repeatedly used racial slurs.
Neely said a potential deal with Miller was first broached in August. The Bruins said on Sunday they had decided to sever ties with him “based on new information”. He said that the fact that he had been arrested was “a concern for me” and that the team’s review process was “absolutely” problematic.
“We take pride and responsibility in what we do in our community,” said Neely, who said he plans to reach out to Meyer Crothers’ family. I am here to apologize.
“Once again, I want to apologize to Isaiah and his family. They shouldn’t be allowed to continue like this.”
After Coyote died, why did the Bruins believe Miller deserved a chance in the NHL?
“From everything I heard, he was working on himself and working on programs to improve himself,” Neely said. I got the impression he made a bad decision and did something horrible.He’s 20 now.I think he’s done a lot of work for himself over the past six years.”
However, the Bruins’ president said the team “could have dug deeper” before signing Miller.
The initial backlash came from NHL fans and soon spread to the Boston players.They were moving to Toronto and it was said that Miller would be signed. He called the behavior “unacceptable and we do not support it.”
While in Finland for the NHL Global Series on Saturday, Bettmann said Miller’s future in the league was uncertain. The NHLPA told ESPN on Saturday that it had not been notified of any suspension or disciplinary action by the NHL against Miller.
Boston GM Don Sweeney discussed Miller’s signing Wednesday with deputy commissioner Bill Daly, Neely said.
“From what I have gathered, [NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly] I said Mitchell would have to get ahead of Gary Bettman if he played in the NHL,” Neely said.
Neely said signing Miller was “by far” his biggest regret as an executive. It came at a time when the Bruins had the best start in franchise history (10-2-0).
“The timing probably wasn’t good,” Neely said. [whether] whether we do it or not. And we made the wrong decision. ”
ESPN’s Ryan S. Clark contributed to this report.