Front office failure: The most recent Boston Bruins controversy


Credit: Chloe Zilembo

WSPN’s Chloe Zilembo discusses the most recent controversy involving the Boston Bruins front office.

Chloe Zilembo

The Boston Bruins: an original six National Hockey League franchise. Despite having a fan base centered in New England, their influence reaches far and wide. Their following is a crowd of both hardcore and casual fans. However, the Bruins success is overshadowed by one thing: their front office, a breeding ground for missteps under general manager Don Sweeney and president Cam Neely .

Sweeney and Neely are both alumni of the Boston Bruins Organization. Sweeney played for 15 seasons from 1988 to 2003 and Neely played 10 seasons from 1986 to 1996. After their careers in the NHL, both Sweeney and Neely started working in the Bruins front office. Currently, Neely has been working as the Bruins’ president since 2010 and Sweeney has been the Bruins’ general manager since 2015.

During their time in the organization, they have been involved in many controversies, which have upset the extremely large and devoted fanbase. Some of their major mishaps include the unsuccessful 2015 draft, failing to re-sign star player David Pastrňák before the 2022-2023 season began and possibly the most problematic incident, signing known racist defenseman Mitchell Miller.

The most disgusting controversy also happens to be the most recent one. Sweeney and Neely signed Miller to a three year entry level contract on Nov. 4, 2022.

And, fans were enraged at this signing to say the least.

Starting in second grade, Miller began tormenting a black disabled boy named Isiah Meyer-Crothers. The bullying only progressed. In middle school, Miller physically assaulted Meyer-Crothers. Miller went even as far as to put a lollipop in the urinal and tricked Meyer-Crothers into licking it, which resulted in Meyer-Crothers being tested for sexually transmitted diseases. After being determined guilty in juvenile court, Miller served 25 hours of mandated community service.

Years later, Miller was drafted to the Arizona Coyotes as the No. 111 pick. Originally, in the pre-draft he was listed at No. 49, but after teams heard about his troubling past, his value dropped significantly.

Miller’s career in Arizona did not last long. Soon after he was signed, he was released because Meyer-Crothers told the Arizona Republic that Miller never apologized. When the word got out, Miller’s career ended with the Arizona Coyotes. A day later, the University of North Dakota, Miller’s college team, dropped him from their program.

Eventually, Miller found his way to the Bruins and its poor front office management. And it only went downhill when Miller was signed. As soon as it was announced, there was immediate criticism. Because of the criticism about the prospect’s past, the Bruins had to hold press conferences addressing the issue.

The veteran core of the Bruins, including captain Patrice Bergeron, spoke out about the signing of Miller.

“It goes against what we are as a culture, as a team and who I am as a person,” said Bergeron.

Not only were the Bruins fans affected by the signing, so were the players. The locker room was heavily demoralized from the repercussions of the signing. During what many fans call the “Miller Era,” the Bruins picked up their second loss of the season to the Toronto Maple Leafs, ending their seven game win streak.

But the horrors were not over. The NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman, released a statement regarding Miller’s eligibility. He said that Miller was not able to play in the NHL or the minor league, the AHL. This rendered Miller as a useless PR nightmare.

For Sweeney and Neely, this was a sign to end their relationships with Miller. Not only was the Bruins organization facing an immense amount of backlash, but now they had lost a game. This called for action. On Nov. 6, just two days after Miller was signed, the Bruins cut ties with the player. 

In the first game of the post “Miller Era,” the Bruins went on to win again and the chaos subsided.

The only question is as follows: What happens to Sweeney and Neely now? Will the Miller mishap be the final nail in the coffin? Only time will tell.