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Coyotes Officially Renounce Draft Selection of Mitchell Miller

Today, Arizona has decided to renounce the draft rights to Miller and wrote in a statement.

NHL Coyotes Punishment

After taking some heat for drafting a player half of the NHL teams had removed from their draft boards, the Arizona Coyotes have decided to reconsider their decision to select Mitchell Miller. The Coyotes selected Miller 111th overall, and represented the team’s first pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. On Thursday, they renounced the pick and released statements explaining their decision.

Related: Coyotes Drafting Mitchell Miller Exposes Organizational Culture Gap

After being selected, Miller’s 2016 conviction for bullying and abusing a Black, developmentally disabled classmate named Isaiah Meyer-Crothers became front and center news. Numerous publications picked up the story and the The Arizona Republic and The Athletic pieces garnered a ton of attention.

All 31 teams knew of Miller’s actions and conviction but the Coyotes decided to select him anyways. Today, Arizona has shifted course and has decided to renounce the draft rights to Miller. The organization wrote in a statement:

We have decided to renounce the rights to Mitchell Miller, effective immediately. Prior to selecting Mitchell in the NHL Draft, we were aware that a bullying incident took place in 2016. We do not condone this type of behavior but embraced this as a teachable moment to work with Mitchell to make him accountable for his actions and provide him with an opportunity to be a leader on anti-bullying and anti-racism efforts. We have learned more about the entire matter, and more importantly, the impact it has had on Isaiah and the Meyer-Crothers family. What we learned does not align with the core values and vision for our organization and leads to our decision to renounce our draft rights. On behalf of the Arizona Coyotes ownership and our entire organization, I would like to apologize to Isaiah and the Meyer-Crothers family. We are building a model franchise on and off the ice and will do the right thing for Isaiah and the Meyer-Crothers family, our fans and our partners. Mr. Miller is now a free agent and can pursue his dream of becoming an NHL player elsewhere.

The Coyotes Draft Was a Disaster

Newly hired general manager Bill Armstrong was not allowed to take part in the Coyotes draft this year because he had come to the organization from the St. Louis Blues and played a heavy role in that team’s draft strategy. There’s no guarantee, but had he been involved, perhaps the Coyotes might not have looked at Miller as an option.

After the draft, Armstrong noted that Miller’s selection was an opportunity to provide a “second chance” for the young defenseman but the team took all sorts of heat for their decision.

Armstrong released a new statement today:

I fully support our decision to renounce Mitchell Miller’s draft rights. It was a unique situation for me not being able to participate in this year’s Draft and we were going through a transition with our scouting department. Mitchell is a good hockey player, but we need to do the right thing as an organization and not just as a hockey team. I’d like to apologize to Isaiah and the Meyer-Crothers family for everything they have dealt with the past few months. I wish them all the best in the future.

What Next For Miller?

According to TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger, the Coyotes informed Miller, who is currently a defenseman for the North Dakota Fighting Hawks. The prospect will officially become an unrestricted free agent. That said, considering his reputation and that this story will follow him around for some time, it’s not likely he gets a look. If he wants a chance, his first step is likely to apologize to Isaiah. From accounts of the family, he’s yet to do so.

He can sign with any team, but if he does, it would make him ineligible to play at North Dakota.

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