NHL commissioner says Bruins signee Mitchell Miller, embroiled in bullying scandal, can’t play in league

NHL commissioner says Bruins signee Mitchell Miller, embroiled in bullying scandal, can’t play in league


NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Saturday that Mitchell Miller, who previously was involved in a violence scandal, is currently ineligible to play in the league, and added league officials were not consulted by the Boston Bruins before the team signed Miller.

“He’s not coming to the NHL, he’s not eligible to come to the NHL at this point. I can’t tell you he’ll ever be eligible to make the NHL,” Bettman said, speaking at the NHL Global Series in Tampere, Finland.

The Bruins announced Friday that they had signed Miller, 20, to an entry-level contract, two years after the Arizona Coyotes waived the player following a report in Republic of Arizona which revealed that Miller bullied a black classmate with a disability when he was in high school in 2016.

Miller and another teenager are accused of tricking Isaiah Meyers-Crothers into eating candy that was placed in a urinal and physically assaulting him. Miller and another teenager pleaded guilty to molestation in Ohio juvenile court and were sentenced to community service, according to the Republic.

“From what I understand, and I’ve heard through the media anecdotally, what he did as a 14-year-old is reprehensible, unacceptable,” Bettman said Saturday. “Before the Bruins made the decision to sign him, we weren’t consulted.”

The Bruins said Friday that Miller will be assigned to the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League, a professional league that is not part of the NHL but serves as a developmental league for NHL prospects. Along with their announcement, the team also provided a statement from Miller in which he said he “deeply” regrets the incident and has “apologised to the individual.”

When asked about his thoughts on Miller’s signing, Bettman said, “If, in fact, at some point they (the Bruins) think they want him to play in the NHL, and I’m not sure they’re close at that point, we’re going to have to let’s clarify him and his eligibility, and that will be based on whatever information we get first-hand at the time.”

“They were free to sign him to play somewhere else, that’s another league issue, but nobody should think at this point that he can or will ever be eligible for the NHL. And the Bruins understand that now,” the commissioner added.

Bruins President Cam Neely previously stated in a statement prior to Miller’s signing, the hockey operations and community relations groups “spent time with him over the past several weeks,” during which time Miller “has been held accountable for his unacceptable behavior and demonstrated his commitment to working with multiple organizations and professionals to would further his education and use his mistake as a learning moment for others.”

Miller played in 60 games last season with the Tri-City Storm of the United States Hockey League. He was named USHL Player of the Year and Defenseman of the Year after setting league records for goals and assists in a season by a defenseman.

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