The Boston Bruins announced findings from an independent review and subsequent procedural changes on their transfer of Mitchell Miller on Thursday.
Led by Loretta Lynch, former US Attorney General of the Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison law firm, this investigation reviewed thousands of documents relating to Boston’s signing of Miller on November 4 and terminated Miller’s contract days later.
While the Bruins’ statement details what new policies the club will adopt, it also states that there was no misconduct by Boston employees in initially reviewing Miller.
“The steps we are announcing today underline our organization’s commitment to our values, including our process to review future players,” said Charlie Jacobs, CEO of the team. “These improvements, which the team will begin implementing immediately, will help us meet the high standards our partners, fans and community have come to expect from this great organization.”
The review recommended applying several policies when it comes to future player purchases:
Establish clear written policies to control off-ice behavior, including identifying red flags that require due diligence and documented resolution
Establish clear timelines and responsibilities within the organization to investigate leads’ community or other out-of-office commitments
Create central review documents, including reporting on red flags and off-ice issues, and make such documents available to all stakeholders involved
Set up a monitoring system to ensure that responsibilities for all review tasks are clearly assigned and tracked.
Leverage independent third-party resources to research and resolve factual issues while reviewing red flags
Depending on the nature of the red flags, determine if there are any special education or rehabilitation programs that the prospect should attend.
The law firm’s report noted that there were previous “gaps” in Boston’s system that prevented them from properly dealing with the red flags presented by someone like Miller. Miller, who was 14 at the time, pleaded guilty in 2016 to one time violating the Ohio Safe Schools Act after he and another teenager were accused in juvenile court of bullying his classmate Isiah Meyer-Crothers, a Black classmate with a developmental disability.
Despite that date, Miller was a fourth-round draft pick by the Arizona Coyotes in October 2020. The Coyotes relinquished their rights that month when news of Miller’s past became public; He was also removed from the University of North Dakota hockey team.
Boston still chose to bring in Miller. The Bruins said they did due diligence before deciding to give Miller a “second chance”. Their decision was met with a quick reaction that deepened when it became clear that Boston had not spoken to Meyer-Crothers about what Miller was doing, and that the Bruins had not consulted the NHL or AHL about Miller’s suitability to play.
Technically, he still has a contract with the club, although Boston has announced that it has severed ties with Miller.