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Bruins to undergo independent review on player-vetting process after Mitchell Miller fiasco

The NHL has retained former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to lead a team of lawyers from the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to conduct an independent review of the team’s process.

Boston Bruins team president Cam Neely has apologized for the Bruins signing prospect Mitchell Miller to an entry-level contract.
Reba Saldanha / TNS

What kind of fallout will occur as a result of the Boston Bruins’ ill-conceived signing of prospect Mitchell Miller is still to be determined, but the team will be going outside the organization to investigate what went wrong in the player-vetting process.

The club has retained former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to lead a team of lawyers from the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to conduct an independent review of the team’s process. Furthermore, the B’s promised to publicly disclose the results of the review whenever it is completed.

“The Boston Bruins strive every day to live our values and meet the high standards our associates, fans and community have come to expect,” said the team in a statement. “This includes treating everyone inside and outside our organization with dignity and respect. We recently fell short of our high standards and disappointed both ourselves and many in our community. Moving forward, we are committed to ensuring that our values are reflected in everything we do as an organization, including our process for vetting future players.”

Isaiah Meyer-Crothers said player sent daily text messages, outlines pattern of abuse in statement released by the Hockey Diversity Alliance. His statement is in contrast to how Miller's agent categorized the current relationship between Miller and Meyer-Crothers.
The Bruins signed Mitchell Miller to an entry-level contract last Friday with the intention of sending him to the team's AHL affiliate in Providence. However, the backlash against the signing was quick and intense, leading to the Bruins rescinding the offer Sunday night, "based on new information."
Boston Bruins president Cam Neely, who didn't specify what the new information was, also said in the statement that the Bruins' organization would take a deeper look at how it screens potential signees.
Bettman didn't close the door permanently to Miller playing in the NHL but said he "would need to see a whole bunch of things and understand a lot more firsthand than I do now anecdotally" before welcoming the defenseman.
Miller was kicked off the UND hockey team by President Andy Armacost before ever playing a game.

Time will tell if the findings of the investigation come with recommendations for major structural changes or even loss of any jobs in the hockey operations department. And how much this investigation impacts the currently high-flying Bruins remains to be seen. One would surmise that the players who were consulted before the signing will have to speak to the lawyers as well.

On Nov. 4, GM Don Sweeney announced the signing of 20-year-old defenseman Mitchell Miller to an entry-level contract. Miller had been convicted of bullying a developmentally delayed classmate when he was 14. According to the victim, Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, and his family, the torment went on for years and they contend Miller had shown no remorse for it until recently when he was looking to get his hockey career back on track. Miller was originally drafted by the Arizona Coyotes in 2020 but the team rescinded its pick, while the University of North Dakota pulled a scholarship offer when the details became known.


During his 2021-22 season, Miller was named United States Hockey League Player and Defenseman of the Year, awards met with criticism because of the player's past off-ice issues.

The public outcry after the B’s signed him was immense, on social media and in a letter-writing campaign to the team. There was also some push-back from the current leadership group of players. A little over 48 hours later, team president Cam Neely announced that the team had decided to “part ways” with Miller.

Because he signed a contract and it was registered with the league, Miller is still technically a part of the Bruins’ organization. Without just cause, the B’s can’t simply terminate the contract. They could agree to a settlement with Miller’s camp so he can attempt to resurrect his career elsewhere, they could simply pay him his AHL salary ($82,500 plus $95,000 signing bonus) for the next three years or buy him out at the next buyout period next summer (the hit would be under $220,000 for three years).

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