Cam Neely says the Bruins “failed” to scout Mitchell Miller

Boston Bruins president Cam Neely said signing prospect Mitchell Miller was his biggest regret as an NHL executive, and expressed concern about lapses in the team’s vetting process.

“I’m very upset that a lot of people were unhappy with our decision,” Neely said Monday. “I’m proud of the Bruins organization and what we stand for, and we failed.”

The Bruins signed 20-year-old defenseman Miller on Friday in hopes of sending him to AHL Providence. The team, however, announced Sunday night that it would be parting ways with Miller after intense backlash from fans, team players and commissioner Gary Bettman.

Bettman said Saturday, “I can’t tell you he’s going to be eligible to enter the NHL.”

Miller was a fourth-round pick by the Arizona Coyotes in 2020, but his draft rights were waived in 2016 when a story broke that he and another classmate, Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, were convicted in juvenile court of bullying. A black classmate with a developmental disability. In the report, Meyer-Crothers’ mother said Miller began abusing her son in second grade and repeatedly used racial slurs.

Neely said the possibility of signing Miller was first brought up in August. The Bruins said Sunday they decided to cut ties with him “based on new information.” When asked about that Monday, Neely said the fact that the Bruins never contacted Meyer-Crothers’ family “was troubling to me” and was “absolutely” an issue in the team’s vetting process.

“We like to take pride in what we do in the community and hold ourselves accountable,” said Neely, who said she plans to reach out to Meyer-Crothers’ family. “We dropped the ball, and I’m here to apologize.

“I’ll say it again: I want to apologize to Isaiah and his family. It’s something they shouldn’t have to keep going through.”

Why did the Bruins think Miller deserved a chance in the NHL after being passed over by the Coyotes?

“From everything I’ve heard, he was working on himself, working on self-improvement programs,” Neely said. “I had the impression that he was a 14-year-old kid who made a very, very bad decision and did terrible things, and now he’s 20 years old. I had the impression that he, in the last six years, “worked a lot on himself.”

The Bruins president, however, said the team “could have gone deeper” before signing Miller.

The initial reaction came from NHL fans and quickly spread to the Boston players, who were on the road in Toronto and told they were going to sign Miller. the captain Patrice Bergeron He called Miller’s actions “unacceptable,” and we don’t stand for that.

On Saturday, while in Finland for the NHL Global Series, Bettman said Miller’s future in the league was uncertain. The NHLPA told ESPN on Saturday that the NHL had not announced any suspension or disciplinary action against Miller.

Neely said Boston manager Don Sweeney spoke with assistant commissioner Bill Daly on Wednesday about signing Miller.

“From what I gather, [NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly] said Mitchell would have to face Gary Bettman if he was going to play in the NHL,” Neely said.

Neely called the Miller signing his biggest regret “ever” as an executive. It came as the Bruins are off to their best start in franchise history (10-2-0).

“The timing of this was probably never going to be good,” Neely said. “I think it’s come to a point [whether] we are doing it or not. And we made the wrong decision.”

ESPN’s Ryan S. Clark contributed to this report.

Leave a Comment