Commissioner Bettman: Miller not eligible for NHL now


TAMPERE, Finland (AP) — NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Saturday that Mitchell Miller is ineligible to play in the league, a day after the defenseman signed an entry-level contract with the Bruins from Boston.

Miller, 20, was selected by Arizona in the fourth round of the 2020 draft, but the Coyotes waived his draft rights for bullying a black classmate with an intellectual disability in college.

The Bruins signed Miller after spending several weeks during an evaluation period with the player. Miller said he will continue to participate in community programs to educate himself and share his mistakes with others.

“He’s not going to join the NHL, he’s not eligible right now to join the NHL,” Bettman said in Tampere, Finland, before Game 2 of the regular season between the Colorado Avalanche and the Blue Jackets. columbus.

Bettman said the NHL was not consulted by the Bruins when signing.

“If, in fact, at some point they think they want him to play in the NHL, and I’m not sure they’re anywhere near that point, we’re going to have to clear that and his eligibility. and that “will be based on all the information we get first-hand at the time,” Bettman said.

“So the answer is they were free to sign him to play somewhere else, that’s a problem from another league, but nobody should think at this point that he is or could ever be eligible for the NHL. And the Bruins understand that now.

The Coyotes were aware of Miller’s 2016 assault conviction when they drafted him. They parted ways with Miller amid criticism after learning more about his bullying of Isaiah Meyer-Crothers.

The University of North Dakota announced a day later that Miller was no longer on the school hockey team.

Miller pleaded guilty at age 14 to one count of assault and one count of violating the Ohio Safe Schools Act. He and another teenager were accused of making Meyer-Crothers eat candy after wiping him in a bathroom urinal, and surveillance video showed them kicking and fist.

Meyer-Crothers’ mother, Joni, told The Arizona Republic that Miller started bullying her son in second grade and used racial epithets.

Miller sent a letter to all 31 NHL teams acknowledging what happened and apologizing for his behavior. Joni Meyer-Crothers said Miller never personally apologized to Isaiah or his family, except in a court-mandated letter.

“When I was in eighth grade, I made an extremely bad decision and acted very immature,” Miller said in a statement. “I harassed one of my classmates. I deeply regret the incident and have apologized to the person. Since the incident, I have come to better understand the profound consequences of my actions that I had not acknowledged or understood nearly seven years ago.

Miller missed the 2020-21 season before scoring 39 goals and 44 assists for Tri-City of the USHL in 2021-22. He was named USHL Player and Defenseman of the Year after setting league records for goals and points by a defenseman.

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