Mike Grier Hired by Sharks; 1st Black GM in NHL History

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 5, 2022

BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 25: Mike Grier #25 of the Buffalo Sabres skates against the Florida Panthers at HSBC Arena on March 25, 2011 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)
Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images

Longtime NHL forward Mike Grier has made history after being named the first-ever Black general manager in the NHL by the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.

San Jose Sharks @SanJoseSharks

There is no better source to confirm the news than himself.<br><br>Please say hello and hear from our new <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SJSharks?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SJSharks</a> General Manager, Mike Grier.&nbsp;πŸ‘‹ <a href="https://t.co/kIrBGAU14i">pic.twitter.com/kIrBGAU14i</a>

ESPN first reported Grier's hiring.

Grier spent last season as a hockey operations adviser with the New York Rangers and previously worked as a scout with the Chicago Blackhawks. He will replace Doug Wilson, who stepped down as Sharks GM in April because of medical reasons after 19 years at the helm.

In addition to his front-office experience, Grier spent time behind the bench, serving as an assistant coach with the New Jersey Devils.

The 47-year-old Detroit native is best known for a lengthy NHL playing career with the Edmonton Oilers, Washington Capitals, Buffalo Sabres and Sharks over 14 seasons from 1996 through 2011.

In 1,060 regular-season games, Grier registered 162 goals and 221 assists for 383 points. He also had 28 points in 101 playoff games, primarily acting as a checking-line winger who played a defensively responsible game.

The 1993 ninth-round pick of the St. Louis Blues will join an exclusive group of general managers in the four major North American sports, which includes his older brother, Chris Grier, who is GM of the NFL's Miami Dolphins.

Mike will have a big job on his hands in San Jose as he takes the reins of a franchise that has been stuck in the doldrums.

The Sharks were once among the NHL's dominant franchises, reaching the playoffs in 19 of 21 seasons from 1997 through 2019, but they have missed the playoffs in each of the past three seasons and are coming off a 32-37-13 campaign.

They also fired head coach Bob Boughner last week, which came as a surprise given how late the firing occurred in relation to the NHL draft and the start of free agency.

Grier will be tasked with finding a new head coach and managing a roster that has a ton of money tied up in veteran players over the next several years.

Defensemen Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic and forwards Tomas Hertl and Logan Couture will all make at least $7 million per season over the next three years or more.

Grier and the Sharks own the No. 11 pick in the first round of the 2022 NHL draft, which is set for Thursday.