Mike Grier became the first black man to land a general manager job in National Hockey League (NHL) history on Tuesday when he was hired by the San Jose Sharks.
The 47-year-old replaces Mike Will, who got the job as interim CEO last November after Doug Wilson resigned. He had been in office since May 2003.
The California team hasn't made the playoffs in the past three seasons. In 2021-22, she finished the regular season ranked sixth in the Pacific Division with a 32-37-13 record.
"The San Jose Sharks are a successful organization in the past and I look forward to the challenge of getting this team back on the path to victory," Grier said during his introductory press briefing. .
“To all Sharks fans, I want you to know that my team and I will do everything we can to build a roster you will be proud of.”
After a career of 1,060 NHL games as a forward, Grier worked as a scout with the Chicago Blackhawks (2014-2018), assistant coach with the New Jersey Devils (2018-2020) and most recently hockey operations advisor with the New York Rangers. Sharks president Jonathan Becher also revealed that Blueshirts GM Chris Drury had strongly sold Grier's qualities.
As a player, the Detroit native has worn the uniform of the Edmonton Oilers, Washington Capitals, Buffalo Sabers and Sharks. He had 162 goals and 221 assists for 383 points in 1,060 NHL games.
He spent three seasons with the Sharks organization, between 2006 and 2009.
A family of leaders
Grier is also not the first member of his family to obtain a general manager position within a North American sports organization. Indeed, his older brother Chris has been the general manager of the Miami Dolphins, in the NFL, since 2016. His father, Bobby Grier, worked for a long time as a coach and member of the staff of several teams of the Goodell circuit.
“I want to thank my dad Bobby and my brother Chris. Your love, your support and your advice have greatly helped me during this process, underlined the new GM of the Sharks. I learned so much from both of you, not just on a sporting level, but mainly on how to treat people with respect. You've been grooming me for this job since I was about 10 years old."
His older brother also congratulated the Sharks on this hiring in a press release.
"Mike understands the game and has the intelligence, experience and knowledge to be successful as a GM," Chris Grier said. Our parents deserve all the credit for the way they raised us. We are very lucky to have been able to watch our father Bobby growing up."
Grier will have his work cut out in the coming days. He will first travel to Montreal for the 2022 draft on Thursday and Friday. Next week, Grier will be busy with the opening of the free agent market. He must also find a new group of coaches, since his organization showed the way out to driver Bob Boughner and his team a few days ago.