Boston Bruins president Cam Neely stated the signing of prospect Mitchell Miller was his greatest remorse as an NHL government, and he expressed concern over failures within the staff’s vetting course of.
“I am extraordinarily upset that we have now made lots of people sad with our determination,” Neely stated Monday. “I take quite a lot of satisfaction within the Bruins group and what we stand for, and we failed there.”
The Bruins signed Miller, a 20-year-old defenseman, on Friday to an entry-level contract with the intention of sending him to AHL Windfall. The staff, nonetheless, introduced Sunday night time that it was parting methods with Miller after intense backlash from followers, the staff’s personal gamers and commissioner Gary Bettman.
Stated Bettman on Saturday: “I can not let you know that he’ll ever be eligible to come back into the NHL.”
Miller was a fourth-round choose by the Arizona Coyotes in 2020, however his draft rights have been relinquished when a narrative was printed about how he and one other center college classmate have been convicted in juvenile courtroom in 2016 of assaulting and bullying Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, a Black classmate with developmental disabilities. Within the report, Meyer-Crothers’ mom alleged Miller started abusing her son in second grade and repeatedly used racial slurs.
Neely stated the potential of signing Miller was first broached in August. The Bruins stated Sunday that they determined to chop ties with him “primarily based on new data.” When requested about that Monday, Neely stated the truth that the Bruins by no means reached out to the household of Meyer-Crothers “was regarding to me” and that it was “completely” an issue with the staff’s vetting course of.
“We prefer to take satisfaction in what we do locally and we maintain ourselves accountable,” stated Neely, who stated he plans to achieve out to the household of Meyer-Crothers. “We dropped the ball, and I am right here to apologize.
“I am going to say it once more: I wish to apologize to Isaiah and his household. It is one thing that they should not proceed to undergo.”
Why did the Bruins consider Miller deserved an opportunity within the NHL, after the Coyotes handed?
“From every part I’ve heard, he was engaged on himself, working in packages to higher himself,” Neely stated. “I used to be beneath the impression it was a 14-year-old child who made a extremely, actually dangerous determination and did some horrible issues, and he is 20 years outdated now. I used to be beneath the impression that he, within the final six years, had accomplished quite a lot of work on himself.”
The Bruins president, nonetheless, stated the staff “may’ve dug deeper” on Miller earlier than signing him.
The preliminary backlash got here from NHL followers and rapidly prolonged to Boston’s personal gamers, who have been on the highway in Toronto and had been advised that Miller could be signed. Captain Patrice Bergeron known as Miller’s actions “unacceptable, and we do not stand by that.”
On Saturday, whereas in Finland for the NHL International Sequence, Bettman stated Miller’s future within the league was unsure. The NHLPA advised ESPN on Saturday that it had not been knowledgeable of any suspension or disciplinary motion by the NHL towards Miller.
Neely stated Boston GM Don Sweeney spoke with deputy commissioner Invoice Daly on Wednesday about signing Miller.
“From what I collect, [NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly] stated that Mitchell must get in entrance of Gary Bettman if he was going to play within the NHL,” Neely stated.
Neely known as the signing of Miller his greatest remorse “by far” as an government. It got here at a time when the Bruins are off to their greatest begin in franchise historical past (10-2-0).
“The timing of it was by no means most likely going to be good,” Neely stated. “I believe it received all the way down to the purpose of [whether] we’re doing it or not. And we made the flawed determination.”
ESPN’s Ryan S. Clark contributed to this report.