- Kristen Shilton is a national NHL reporter for ESPN.
The Boston Bruins revealed findings and subsequent procedural changes on Thursday from an independent review conducted on their signing of Mitchell Miller.
That investigation, led by former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch of the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, parsed through thousands of documents related to Boston’s signing of Miller on Nov. 4 before cutting ties with him days later.
The Bruins’ release detailed what new policies the club will adopt, while also stating that there was no misconduct by Boston’s employees in initially vetting Miller.
“The steps we are announcing today underscore our organization’s commitment to our values, including our process for vetting future players,” team CEO Charlie Jacobs said in a statement. “These improvements, which the team will begin implementing immediately, will help ensure that we are meeting the high standards our associates, fans and community expect from this great organization.”
The review recommended putting in place various policies when it comes to future player acquisitions:
Establish clear written policies for vetting off-ice conduct, including identifying red flags requiring detailed vetting and documented resolution
Establish clear timetables and responsibilities within the organization to investigate prospects’ community or other off-ice commitments
Establish centralized documentation of vetting to include reporting on red flags and off-ice issues and ensure such documentation is available to all stakeholders involved in the process
Establish tracking system to ensure responsibilities for all vetting tasks are clearly assigned and tracked
Utilize independent third-party resources to investigate and resolve factual issues when reviewing red flags
Determine whether there are specific training or rehabilitation programs the prospect should participate in depending on the nature of the red flags
The law firm’s report stated there were previous gaps in Boston’s system preventing them from properly dealing with red flags someone like Miller presented. Miller, then 14, pleaded guilty in 2016 in juvenile court to one count of assault and one count of violation of the Ohio Safe Schools Act after he and another teenager were accused of bullying classmate Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, a Black classmate with developmental disabilities.
Despite that history, Miller became a fourth-round draft choice by the Arizona Coyotes in October 2020. The Coyotes dropped his rights that month when news of Miller’s past was revealed publicly; he was also removed from the University of North Dakota hockey team.
Boston opted to bring Miller on anyway. The Bruins said at the time they had done their due diligence before deciding to give Miller a “second chance.” Their decision was met with swift backlash that deepened when it became clear Boston hadn’t spoken to Meyer-Crothers about what Miller did, nor did the Bruins consult the NHL or AHL about Miller’s eligibility to even play games.
Although Boston stated its severed ties with Miller, he’s still technically under contract with the club.
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