In a sport where racism, homophobia, and sexual assault are regularly accepted, the Boston Bruins double downed and gave Mitchell Miller a job.
Hockey dudes may not like my assessment, but it’s time to pull your head out of the sand. The culture of hockey sucks, and every time it shuffles one-quarter step forward, the ice game willingly takes six steps backwards. Giving Mitchell Miller a chance to play professional hockey after he and others went out of their way to destroy a young man’s life is as disgusting as it gets.
The Boston Bruins have signed defenceman Mitchell Miller, who had his draft rights relinquished by Arizona for bullying a Black classmate with developmental disabilities in middle school.
The Bruins signed Miller to an entry-level contract on Friday after spending several weeks during an evaluation period with the 20-year-old. Miller said he would continue to participate in community programs to educate himself and share his mistakes with others.
“Representing the Boston Bruins is a privilege we take seriously as an organization,” Bruins general manager Cam Neely said in a statement. “During this evaluation period, Mitchell was accountable for his unacceptable behaviour and demonstrated his commitment to work with multiple organizations and professionals to further his education and use his mistake as a teachable moment for others.”
Honestly, Cam Neely can suck an egg. Some people deserve second chances, and some people don’t. Mitchell Miller 1000% doesn’t deserve another chance. I have no idea what the Bruins were thinking, but this is a terrible look. Fans, players, and the media are pissed. Neely slapped every hockey player fighting against racism in hockey right in the face. Even the Bruins players think it’s bullshit.
“If it’s the same 14-year-old that would be walking into this locker room, he wouldn’t be accepted.”
Patrice Bergeron’s words were firm and concise on Saturday morning, spoken to reporters hours before his Bruins are set to take on a hated divisional rival under the bright lights of Hockey Night in Canada.
The captain stood before the swarm of media circling his stall in the Scotiabank Arena’s visitor’s locker room with what should have been a smile on his face, put there by his team sitting on a 10-1-0 record through their first 11 games that places them atop the ultra-competitive Atlantic Division and earned them the title of the hottest team in hockey.
The team’s leaders were quick to state that their locker room’s culture and chemistry would not be disrupted by a decision that was made well above their heads. But amid the assurances, it’s clear that Miller’s signing has taken a toll.
“It’s tough. It’s a really hard topic,” admitted Bruins forward Nick Foligno when asked about digesting the news.
“First and foremost, I don’t think the organization would purposely do anything to jeopardize (the culture). But, in saying that, it’s not something that anyone in this room stands for. The culture that we’ve built, and what these guys have built before I got here, is one of inclusion and diversity, and I think this goes against that.”
According to Bergeron, the Bruins approached him about the possibility of signing Miller roughly a week ago, with Bergeron making his opinion that he did not agree with the move clear. Additionally, Bruins coach Jim Montgomery revealed that he did not play a part in the organization’s vetting process of Miller at all in the lead-up to the signing, instead referring to the process as “not a coaching decision”.
So, Neely spoke to the captain, who said no. He talked to the coach, who said no, but Neely thought he knew better and signed Miller anyway. This could be a story of a former meathead in a power position and entirely out of touch with reality. Neely clearly doesn’t understand the culture or dynamic of the Bruins locker room.
Nothing surprises me anymore, and I’m here for the bullshit. I’ll stand in the waiting, ready to pounce on the NHL, Hockey Canada, and every Don Cherry supporter. Hockey sucks, and stories like this don’t change my mind.