The NHL’s Boston Bruins announced Friday that the team had signed Mitchell Miller to an entry-level contract. The signing comes two years after the Arizona Coyotes renounced their rights to Miller, who the Coyotes drafted in the 4th round of the 2020 NHL draft, after a report in the Arizona Republic revealed Miller had bullied a Black classmate with disabilities while he was in junior high school in Sylvania, Ohio, in 2016.
Miller and another teen were accused of tricking Isaiah Meyers-Crothers into eating candy that had been placed in a urinal and physically assaulting him. Miller and another teen admitted to the bullying in an Ohio juvenile court and were sentenced to community service, according to the Republic.
The Bruins provided a statement from Miller, now 20 years old, along with the announcement of the signing.
“When I was in eighth grade, I made an extremely poor decision and acted very immaturely,” said Miller.
“I bullied one of my classmates. I deeply regret the incident and have apologized to the individual. Since the incident, I have come to better understand the far-reaching consequences of my actions that I failed to recognize and understand nearly seven years ago. I strive to be a better person and positively contribute to society. As a member of the Bruins organization, I will continue to participate in community programs to both educate myself and share my mistakes with others to show what a negative impact those actions can have on others. To be clear, what I did when I was 14 years old was wrong and unacceptable. There is no place in this world for being disrespectful to others and I pledge to use this opportunity to speak out against mistreating others.”
Bruins president Cam Neely said in the team’s statement, “Representing the Boston Bruins is a privilege we take seriously as an organization.”
“Prior to signing Mitchell, our Hockey Operations and Community Relations groups spent time with him over the last few weeks to better understand who he is as an individual and learn more about a significant mistake he made when he was in middle school. During this evaluation period, Mitchell was accountable for his unacceptable behavior and demonstrated his commitment to work with multiple organizations and professionals to further his education and use his mistake as a teachable moment for others. The expectation is that he will continue this important educational work with personal development and community programs as a member of the Bruins organization.”
Miller played in 60 games last season for the Tri-City Storm of the United States Hockey League. He was named USHL Player of the Year and Defenseman of the Year after setting league records for goals and assists in a season by a defenseman.