The Boston Bruins rescinded their contract with Mitchell Miller Sunday after the National Hockey League deemed him ineligible to join the team due to a bullying incident the player participated in when he was a young teenager.
The decision is effective immediately, just days after the Bruins signed Miller to an entry-level contract on Friday. The about-face comes after the revelation of new information apparently related to bullying, which at some point led to serious consequences when the player was in school.
Miller at 14 was convicted in a bullying incident where he and another teenager were accused of tricking their Black classmate Isaiah Meyers-Crothers into eating candy that had been placed in a urinal, a report from the Arizona Republic revealed.
Miller and another teen admitted to the bullying in an Ohio juvenile court and were sentenced to community service, according to the Republic.
In explaining the decision to sign the now 20-year-old Miller in the first place, Boston Bruins president Cam Neely said the team had carefully considered the facts as they were aware of them, “that at 14-years-old he made a poor decision that led to a juvenile conviction.”
“We understood this to be an isolated incident and that he had taken meaningful action to reform and was committed to ongoing personal development. Based on that understanding we offered him a contract,” Neely said.
After new information came to light, the team decided it was in its best interest to rescind the opportunity. The team’s statement did not detail that information.
“We hope that he continues to work with professionals and programs to further his education and personal growth,” Neely said.
Neely also apologized to Meyers-Crothers and his family for the signing as well as to the members of the organization, fans, partners and the community.
“To Isaiah and his family, my deepest apologies if this signing made you and other victims feel unseen and unheard. We apologize for the deep hurt and impact we have caused,” Neely said. “We will continue to stand against bullying and racism in all of its forms.”
Neely added, “Finally, as a father, I think there is a lesson to be learned here for other young people. Be mindful of careless behaviors and going with the group mentality of hurting others. The repercussions can be felt for a lifetime.”
On Saturday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the Bruins did not consult the league before signing Miller, calling what Miller did as a 14-year-old “reprehensible” and “unacceptable.”
“He’s not coming into the NHL. He’s not eligible at this point to come into the NHL. I can’t tell you that he’ll ever be eligible to come into the NHL,” said Bettman while speaking at the NHL Global Series in Tampere, Finland.
“So the answer is they were free to sign him to play somewhere else, that’s another league’s issue, but nobody should think at this point he is or may ever be NHL eligible. And the Bruins understand that now,” Bettman added.
The Arizona Coyotes drafted him in 2020, and the team later withdrew his rights after the Republic’s report revealed the bullying conviction.
CNN has reached out to Miller’s representation for comment and did not immediately hear back.
When the Bruins initially signed Miller, the team provided a statement from the player in which he said, “When I was in eighth grade, I made an extremely poor decision and acted very immaturely.”
“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,” he said. “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.”