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NHL: Bruins president Cam Neely regrets signing Mitchell Miller and apologizes

Boston Bruins president Cam Neely said signing prospect Mitchell Miller was his biggest regret as an NHL manager, and he expressed concern about failures in the NHL’s decision-making process. ‘crew.

“I am extremely upset that we made a lot of people unhappy with our decision,” Neely said Monday. “I take a lot of pride in the Bruins organization and what we’re doing, but we failed here. “

The Bruins signed Miller, a 20-year-old defenseman, on Friday with the intention of sending him to the American League in Providence. However, the team announced Sunday night that it was parting ways with Miller after a strong backlash from fans, team players and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

Bettman said Saturday, “I can’t tell you he’ll ever be allowed to play in the NHL.”

Miller was a fourth-round pick of the Arizona Coyotes in 2020, but his rights were waived when an article was published about how he and another classmate were found guilty in juvenile court in 2016 of assaulting and bullying Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, a black classmate with developmental disabilities. In the article, Meyer-Crothers’ mother alleged that Miller began abusing her son in second grade and repeatedly used racial slurs.

Neely said the possibility of signing Miller was first discussed in August. The Bruins said Sunday they had decided to cut ties with him “based on new information.” Asked about it on Monday, Neely said the fact the Bruins never contacted Meyer-Crothers’ family “concerns” him and it’s “absolutely” a problem in the decision-making process.

 

“We like to be proud of what we do in the community and we hold ourselves accountable,” said Neely, who said he intended to contact Meyer-Crothers’ family. “We failed and I’m here to apologize. “

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“I’ll say it again: I want to apologize to Isaiah and his family. It’s something they shouldn’t continue to suffer. “

Why did the Bruins feel Miller deserved an NHL chance after the Coyotes turned him down?

“From everything I heard he was working on himself, he was working in programs to get better,” Neely explained. “I felt like he was a 14-year-old kid who made a really, really bad decision and did some horrible things, and he’s 20 now. I felt like over the past six years he had done a lot of work on himself. “

 

The Bruins president, however, said the team “could have learned more” about Miller before signing him.

The initial reaction came from NHL fans and quickly spread to Boston players, who were on the road in Toronto and had been told Miller would be signed. Captain Patrice Bergeron called Miller’s actions “unacceptable and we can’t stand that.”

On Saturday, while in Finland for the NHL Global Series, Bettman said Miller’s future in the league was uncertain. The NHL Players’ Association told ESPN on Saturday that it had not been notified of any suspension or league disciplinary action against Miller.

 

Neely said Bruins general manager Don Sweeney spoke with assistant commissioner Bill Daly on Wednesday about signing Miller.

” From what I understood, [le commissaire adjoint de la LNH Bill Daly] said Mitchell should go in front of Gary Bettman if he wanted to play in the NHL,” Neely said.

Neely said signing Miller was “by far” his biggest regret as an executive. The signing came at a time when the Bruins are off to the best start to the season in club history (10-2-0).

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” The moment [de cette signature] probably never would have been the right one,” Neely acknowledged. “I think we got to the question of whether we should do it or not. And we made the wrong decision. “

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