Kearney, NE. -- The Tri-City Storm has added defenseman Mitchell Miller to its roster ahead of the 2021-2022 season. Miller last skated for the Storm during the 2019-2020 campaign. That season, he was named the USHL’s “Defenseman of the Week” four times and honored as an All-USHL First Team selection.
Miller, 19, of Sylvania, Ohio returns to Tri-City after not playing competitive hockey during the 2020-2021 season. An off- ice incident he was involved in when he was 14 led to Miller being removed from the hockey team at the University of North Dakota last October. In addition, the Arizona Coyotes -- who selected Miller in the 4th round of the 2020 NHL Draft -- renounced their rights to him.
Miller scored eight goals and recorded 25 assists in 44 games for the Storm during the 2019-2020 regular season. He also represented the United States at the 2019 World Junior A Challenge. In addition, Miller represented Team USA at the 2018 World Junior A Challenge, where he and his teammates won a gold medal.
“After careful consideration, the Tri-City Storm has decided to provide Mitchell Miller with an opportunity to resume his amateur hockey career,” Storm President of Hockey Operations and Head Coach Anthony Noreen said. “We know Mitchell very well and we are convinced what happened when he was 14 isn’t indicative of his character or who he is now as a 19-year-old young man.
“Mitchell and the Storm do not minimize what happened five years ago. Bullying and racially offensive remarks are wrong under any circumstance. Mitchell is fully aware of that, he regrets what he did, and is genuinely sorry. He’s grown and matured greatly since then, and we believe in the person that he’s become. We will continue to support and guide Mitchell to ensure his maturation and commitment to helping others continues.”
Since the incident in 2016, Miller has been actively involved in community service initiatives that support anti-bullying efforts, special needs children, disabled athletes, the homeless and the elderly. This season, Miller will be an active leader of the club working with various community service efforts with the Storm organization, as well as participating in a Diversity and Inclusion program for personal and professional improvement, and working with a nationally recognized sports psychologist.
"I'm grateful for the chance to resume my playing career with the Tri-City Storm” said Mitchell Miller. “What I did when I was 14 years old was hurtful to others, and I'm truly sorry for that. I've done a lot of growing up over the past five years, and become a mature person who is respectful of everyone at all times. I pledge to make the most of this opportunity, and be a good person on and off the ice, helping others in as many ways as I can."
Prior to his time with the Storm, Miller was named to the prestigious Hlinka Gretzky Cup tournament roster for USA Hockey in 2018. He registered a point per game during the event. Miller was acquired by the Storm on May 31, 2019 in a trade with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. He appeared in 50 games with the RoughRiders from 2017 to 2019. Miller, who has scored 12 goals and recorded 38 assists in 94 career USHL games, was one of six Storm players selected in the 2020 NHL Draft.
“The USHL has reviewed and vetted the current situation in regards to Mr. Mitchell Miller at great length,” said USHL President and Commissioner Bill Robertson. “We believe Mr. Miller deserves a second chance and opportunity, while also feeling that the Tri-City Storm organization has developed an on-going developmental plan to assist this young man off and on the ice while competing this season in our league. We wish Mr. Miller well this year.”