The Boston Bruins signed Mitchell Miller to an entry-level contract on Nov. 4 of last year, but there was controversy.
Miller, now 21, pleaded guilty at the age of 14 to one count of assault and violating the Ohio Safe Schools Act after he and another student abused a classmate.
The two forced Isaiah Meyer-Crothers to eat a lollipop after wiping it in a bathroom urinal, and surveillance footage also showed them kicking and punching him. It also was found that Miller called Meyer-Crothers, who is Black and has developmental disabilities, the N-word and “brownie” frequently.
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Despite the team saying they “will part ways” with Miller just two days after signing him, he remained under contract.
The New York Post was told that the team terminated their contract with Miller after their disassociation with him, but there was no record of him being placed on waivers as required by the league’s collective bargaining agreement. Even as recently as Saturday evening, Miller was listed on the team’s minor league roster on sites like CapFriendly and PuckPedia.
The NHLPA then reportedly filed a grievance, and the Bruins and Miller wound up reaching a settlement in February. Miller was then released, received an unknown sum, and granted free agency.
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Miller was a fourth-round draft pick by the Arizona Coyotes in 2016, but when more details of the assault became public in October 2020, the Coyotes relinquished his draft rights. He was then kicked off the University of North Dakota hockey team.
Bruins president Cam Neely said the organization “failed” in the vetting process of Miller, citing “new information” that led the team to rescind his contract offer. Neely said he learned the team did not speak with Meyer-Crothers or his family, which he felt was “very concerning.”
Meyer-Crothers noted that Miller did recently apologize to him, and the apology “didn’t involve hockey.” However, he said that in the “middle of October” Miller had “texted [him] constantly every day till I answered a Snapchat and [Instagram] message” from Miller asking him “why I have parents doing stuff for me and why can’t I speak for myself.”
Meyer-Crothers said Miller told him “he was doing stuff in the community and helping the youth and wanted to be my friend.” But when Meyer-Crothers asked for proof of his service to the community, Miller was unable to provide any.
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The Bruins set the all-time NHL records for most wins (65) and points (135) in a single season, but their quest to a Stanley Cup ended with an upsetting first-round loss to the Florida Panthers, immediately ending any consideration of that squad being the best NHL team ever.