BOSTON — The Boston Bruins announced on Thursday steps to improve and strengthen their team’s player-vetting process following an independent review into the circumstances that led to the signing of controversial prospect Mitchell Miller.
Miller, a 2020 fourth round pick, was released by the Arizona Coyotes after a report of him being convicted for abusing and a bullying a disabled classmate while in middle school came to light. The Bruins tried signing Miller in early November, and received immediate backlash.
The independent review was led by former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch of the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and concluded on December 22, according to team officials.
“Throughout our independent and thorough review process, the Bruins’ leadership and employees cooperated fully,” Loretta Lynch said in a statement. “Based upon our review, we have recommended a series of changes and enhancements to the process of vetting future players.”
The review determined that although there was no misconduct by Bruins employees during the Miller vetting process, there were gaps in the team’s vetting procedures, which created problems when faced with a recruit with multiple red flags such as Miller. Those red flags were not brought to the forefront when the decision was made to sign the player.
Investigators identified several improvements to the team’s vetting process and provided the following recommendations:
- Establish clear written policies for vetting off-ice conduct, including identifying red flags requiring detailed vetting and documented resolution.
- Establish clear timetables and responsibilities within the organization to investigate prospects’ community or other off-ice commitments.
- Establish centralized documentation of vetting to include reporting on red flags and off-ice issues and ensure such documentation is available to all stakeholders involved in the process.
- Establish tracking system to ensure responsibilities for all vetting tasks are clearly assigned and tracked.
- Utilize independent third-party resources to investigate and resolve factual issues when reviewing red flags.
- Determine whether there are specific training or rehabilitation programs the prospect should participate in depending on the nature of the red flags.
The team says they will begin to implement the recommendations immediately.
“These improvements, which the team will begin implementing immediately, will help ensure that we are meeting the high standards our associates, fans and community expect from this great organization,” Boston Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs said. “The steps we are announcing today underscore our organization’s commitment to our values, including our process for vetting future players.”
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