Mitchell Miller, a prospect whose draft rights were waived after it came out publicly that he and a classmate had been convicted of assaulting and bullying a classmate with a developmental disability, signed an entry-level contract Friday with the Boston Bruins.
The 20-year-old defending man was a fourth-round pick from the Arizona Coyotes in 2020. Shortly after he was drafted, a report was released by Arizona Republic He detailed how Miller and another middle school classmate were convicted in juvenile court in 2016 for racial abuse and bullying of Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, who is black.
In the report, Meyer Crothers’ mother alleged that Miller began abusing her son in second grade while also using frequent racial epithets.
“When I was in the eighth grade, I made a very poor decision and acted very immature,” Miller said in a statement released by the Bruins family on Friday. “I bullied one of my classmates. I deeply regret the incident and 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.”
“…To be clear, what I did when I was 14 was wrong and unacceptable. There is no place in this world for disrespecting others and I pledge to take this opportunity to speak out against the mistreatment of others.”
In his statement, Miller said he would continue to participate in community programs to educate himself and share “my mistakes with others to show the negative impact these actions can have on others.”
Bruins’ president, Cam Neely, said the team’s hockey operations division and community relations group have spent time with Miller over the past few weeks to “better understand” who he is as an individual and “to learn more about a major mistake he made when he was in middle school.”
“During this evaluation period, Mitchell was responsible for his unacceptable behavior and demonstrated his commitment to working with many organizations and professionals to continue his education and to use his error as a teachable moment for others,” Neely said in the statement. “It is expected that he will continue this important educational work with personal and community development programs as a member of the Bruins.”
NHL Central Scouting named Miller the 49th North American skater in its final pre-draft rankings, but he slipped into the fourth round as the teams learned of his past.
Days after the Coyotes drafted Miller, the team said in a statement that it was “easy” to dismiss him as the other teams have done, but “we felt our responsibility was to be part of the solution in a real way – not saying and doing the right things ourselves but ensuring that others are as well.” “.
Coyotes own Alex Meruelo’s first NHL Latino owner and the league’s first Latino CEO and president Xavier Gutierrez.
Ultimately, Miller relinquished his rights to Project Coyotes less than a month later. He was also discharged from his scholarship at the University of North Dakota, where Miller was enrolled as a freshman.
He sat through the 2020-21 season before returning to play for USHL’s Tri-City Storm during 2021-22. Miller was named the USHL’s Defender of the Year and Player of the Year after finishing the tie at the top of the league with 39 goals while also collecting 83 points – both scored in one season for a man of the year – in 60 games.
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