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Neely: Boston Bruins ‘Dropped The Ball’ With Miller Signing



Boston Bruins

BRIGHTON, MA – It seemed like the Mitchell Miller situation with the Boston Bruins was never going to come to any kind of a satisfactory ending, and so it was B’s President Cam Neely, hat in hand, apologizing to the fan base hours after the team had announced they had cut ties with the promising, troubled defenseman prospect.

Neely and the Boston Bruins released a statement late Sunday night referencing new information that had come to light spurring them to release the 20-year-old from his entry level contract. It was learned on Monday that Neely was referencing the team never contacting the family of Isiah Meyer-Crothers, who Miller was convicted of tormenting and bullying for years, as part of their due diligence.

The Bruins President alluded to possible penalties or punishment coming to the hockey ops department as a result of the embarrassing situation that’s damaged the Spoked B brand, and rightfully angered the fan base. Neely also spoke of calling the victim’s family to apologize personally for a situation that’s once again dragged their disabled child into the middle of a media circus that has cropped up multiple times over again because of Miller’s cruel bullying as a child.

“We like to take pride in what we do as a community and we hold ourselves accountable,” said Neely, who looked understandably upset at the situation while addressing the Boston Bruins media. “We dropped the ball and I’m here to apologize.

“The fact that we didn’t talk to the family was concerning to me. [Why we didn’t] is a great question and I plan on finding out. I want to apologize to Isiah and his family. This isn’t something that they should continue to go through.”

The Bruins have been under fire for the last four days after announcing that they had signed the 20-year-old Miller to an entry level contract. There’s no denying the former USHL defenseman is a talented pro prospect with top-level offensive defenseman ability, but his deplorable behavior as a teenager led to the Arizona Coyotes rescinding his draft rights, and the University of North Dakota cancelling a hockey scholarship.

Much of the information on the Miller situation had already been widely out there, so the greatest question for the Boston Bruins organization was why it happened in the first place. Neely referenced a meeting with Miller, his mother and his agent where he spoke at length about his behavior, his remorse and his pathway to possible redemption, and Neely’s own belief in second chances.

“From everything I heard he was working on himself and working on programs to better himself, and I was under the impression he was a 14-year-old kid that made a really, really bad decision…and did some horrible things,” said Neely, who said he does believe in ‘second chances’. “He’s 20 years old now, so I was under the impression that the last six years he’d been working on himself.

“There was a meeting I had with Mitchell, his mother and the agent. I felt that he was remorseful, and I felt that he had changed, and I felt that at that particular time that a second chance was warranted. We just didn’t have enough information. We could have dug deeper.”

But it clearly wasn’t the right time as veteran Boston Bruins players were outspoken in panning the move, and the B’s fan base spent days firing off angry emails and letters to the Boston Bruins that finally pushed them to sever ties with Miller.

“I’m extremely upset that we’ve made a lot of people unhappy with our decision,” said Neely. “I take pride in the Bruins organization and what we stand for, and we failed there.”

The overriding question remains why exactly the Boston Bruins were moved to sign Miller in the first place. The easy answer is that they have one of the worst-ranked prospect groups in the entire NHL and they don’t have a dynamic game-changing offensive defenseman like Miller within their ranks of young players.

But really, there isn’t a player in the entire league that’s worth the amount of trouble, controversy and fan anxiety that the Boston Bruins stirred up over the last few days for a B’s hockey club that was sailing through the early regular season.

Joe Haggerty has covered the Boston Bruins and the NHL for 18 years with NBC Sports Boston,, the Boston Metro and the Woburn Daily Times, and currently serves as lead Bruins reporter and columnist for Boston Hockey Now. Haggs always strives to capture the spirt of the thing any way that he can.

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I just hope public opinion is polled before any front office decisions are made. Can;t wait for the next twitter poll on who we should draft next.


Nothing quite as revealing as an apology without any cogent explanation. Why did the Bruins sign a racist abuser of a handicapped kid? Why did they do such an insensitive and frankly stupid thing, at a time when the Bruins are off to an historic start to their season? How can Neely and Sweeney survive this? And if they do, how much damage will their continued presence do to this team? As a handicapped person, for over 45 years, I’ve seen more than enough prejudice against the differently abled. I can’t tell you how disgusted I am with the Bruins,… Read more »


so the kid and I emphasize kid gets no slack or chance to redeem himself the rest of his life?

how about you, have you ever said anything derogatory or mean to anyone?


Unbelievable how people will not give a 14 yr old kid a 2nd chance! All of you that chirped about this should look in the mirror and go apologize or own what you did as a stupid teenager! No 2nd chances for anyone making a mistake as a youth! The prison system is going to get real crowed! I am not condoning what he did at all. But if all the writers and responders are going to judge him like you did than you all should forfeit your jobs and careers because you all are guilty of something in your… Read more »


Give it a rest with the prospect pool. Enough is enough. In case you haven’t noticed the P Bruins are 8 and 1. People the Bruins have plenty of talent in their franchise

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