November 22, 2022

Students are reminded to play to their core as NHL team cuts ties with player over bullying

The Boston Bruins, an NHL Hockey Team, took back their offer to draft player Mitchell Miller after discovering he had a history of bullying a Black classmate with learning disabilities. The bullying happened over a number of years, from when Mitchell was in the 2nd grade until the 8th grade.

Team President, Cam Neely, said in a statement, “We owe it to our fans, players, staff, partners, and community to make sure that our practices and protocols are in keeping with the ethos that we demand from ourselves and as an organization,” Neely said. “As such, we will be re-evaluating our internal processes for vetting individuals who wish to earn the privilege of playing in the National Hockey League for the Boston Bruins.” 

As of this week, the hashtag, #mitchellmiller has over 1.5 million views on TikTok. Students, players, and people around the world are discussing the repercussions of one’s actions while they are a student and the importance of playing to our core- both online and offline. 

What happened? 

In 2016, when Mitchell Miller was 14 years old, he pleaded guilty to one count of assault and one count of violating the Ohio Safe Schools Act. Surveillance footage found Mitchell and another student kicking and punching a student with learning disabilities and forcing that student to eat a candy push pop that was wiped in a bathroom urinal. The mother of the victim shared that Miller began bullying her son in the second grade, while also using racial slurs. 

Then in 2020, Miller first entered the National Hockey League when he was drafted by the Arizona Coyotes. After receiving criticism and becoming more aware of Miller’s past, the team decided to part ways.

The Bruins were met with similar criticism after signing Miller despite knowing about his past. Miller sent a letter to the NHL, apologizing for his actions. He wrote in a statement, “When I was in eighth grade, I made an extremely poor decision and acted very immaturely, I bullied one of my classmates. I deeply regret the incident and have apologized to the individual. Since the incident, I have come to better understand the far-reaching consequences of my actions that I failed to recognize and understand nearly seven years ago.”

Despite his apology, the Bruins ultimately parted ways with Miller.

Bruins Team Captain, Patrice Bergeron, spoke out about criticisms regarding Mitchell Miller. He said, “To stay true to my values, really is what it comes down to. And what is important is to stand up for what you think is wrong, that situation, goes back to what we’ve built here as an organization, as a team, as a locker room. That is to be inclusive and a locker room of respect and integrity.”

TSI’s Take

It’s not always easy to stand up for our values and what we believe is right. Here at The Social Institute, one of our Seven Social Standards is Play to Your Core. This means reflecting our values, character, and interests in our actions, both online and offline. 

This December, we will be releasing an updated version of our Play To Your Core #WinAtSocial Curriculum, aligned with our National Calendar. In this lesson, we will discuss how our actions have consequences and the importance of playing to our core at any age. 

Educators can empower students to Play To Their Core every day by reminding them to post and share things online that represent their values and characters and to stand up for what they believe in. You can empower your students to Play To Their Core by encouraging them to: 

  1. Share what represents their values
  2. Post with the future in mind
  3. Align their values with their actions

Always stay up-to-date with the latest and greatest trends online by subscribing to our newsletter where we talk about trending tech and social media news weekly! In the meantime, check out our Instagram and TikTok @thesocialinst for tips, trends, and highlights when it comes to social media.


The Social Institute (TSI) is the leader in understanding student experiences and creator of #WinAtSocial, a gamified, online learning platform that equips students, educators, and families to navigate social experiences — online and offline — in healthy ways. Our unique, student-respected approach incorporates topics like social media, technology use, and current events that have a significant impact on student well-being. Lessons teach life skills for the modern day to inspire high-character decisions that support the health, happiness, and future success of students, while capturing data that provides insights to school leaders to inform school policy and communications, and enable high-impact teaching and a healthy learning environment. For schools, our turnkey technology allows for easy implementation and a comprehensive game plan to support the well-being of school communities. For schools, our turnkey technology allows for easy implementation and a comprehensive game plan to support the well-being of school communities.