NHL’s Gary Bettman Addresses Bruins Signing Mitchell Miller
When the Bruins signed Mitchell Miller, who was charged and convicted in an Ohio Juvenile Court for assaulting a classmate in eighth grade, the organization saw a large amount of backlash for the decision.
General manager Don Sweeney acknowledged the risk in signing the player, but claimed the team did a vetting process. However, that didn’t involve checking in with the league. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said he didn’t hear from Boston before the team signed Miller.
“What I understand and have heard through the media, and anecdotally, what he did as a 14-year-old is reprehensible, unacceptable,” Bettman said. “Before the Bruins made the decision to sign him, we were not consulted.”
As a result, the Bruins may not have known that Miller may never be eligible to play in the NHL. Bettman explained that the league may not clear Miller to play in the NHL when Boston wants to promote him.
“He’s not coming into the NHL, he’s not eligible at this point to come into the NHL,” Bettman said. “I can’t tell you that he’ll ever be eligible to come into the NHL. If, in fact, at some point, they think they want him to play in the NHL, and I’m not sure they’re anywhere close to that point, we’re going to have to clear him and his eligibility.”
Miller was originally drafted by the Coyotes in the fourth round of the 2020 NHL draft, but the team renounced the pick just three days later when the Arizona Republic reported on Miller’s past. According to the report, Miller bullied Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, a Black and disabled classmate, while the two went to school together in Ohio.
Besides the league and the fans, the Bruins players also questioned whether the team should’ve signed Miller. Captain Patrice Bergeron admitted he was “on the fence” about the move, while Nick Foligno said “it’s not something that anyone in this room stands for.”
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