National Hockey League history was made on Tuesday. For the first time ever, there will be an African-American NHL general manager. That is because the San Jose Sharks have named Mike Grier of Detroit, Michigan as the person responsible for hiring player and coaching personnel.
Grier Takes Over from Doug Wilson and Joe Will
Mike Grier becomes the sixth general manager in San Jose Sharks history. The previous five general managers were Jack Ferreira of Providence, Rhode Island (1990-92), Chuck Grillo of Hibbing, Minnesota (1992-96), Dean Lombardi of Holyoke, Massachusetts (1996-2003), Doug Wilson of Ottawa, Ontario (2003-2022), and Joe Will of Minneapolis, Minnesota (since April 7, 2022). It is interesting that five of the six Americans in Sharks history have been American. It should be noted that Will was only the interim general manager after Wilson resigned due to health reasons. Wilson was the Sharks general manager in 2016 when they reached the Stanley Cup Final before losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Post-Hockey Playing Experience
Since retiring as a player in the National Hockey League, Grier has held many roles. They include being a scout for the Chicago Blackhawks (2014-2018), assistant coach for St. Sebastien’s High School (2014 to 2018 and again from 2020 to 2021), head coach of the Boston Terriers Pee Wee AAA Team (2015-16), the assistant coach for the New Jersey Devils (2018 to 2020), and the hockey operations co-ordinator of the New York Rangers (2021-22).
Mike Grier’s NHL Career
Grier played 14 seasons in the National Hockey League from 1996 to 2011. He was with the Edmonton Oilers (1996 to 2002), the Washington Capitals (2002 to 2004), the Buffalo Sabres (2004 to 2006 and 2009 to 2011), and Sharks (2006 to 2009).
In 1060 games, Grier had 162 goals and 221 assists for 383 points. He was a -9 with 510 penalty minutes, 30 power-play points, 33 shorthanded points, 26 game-winning goals, and 1643 shots on goal. Grier also had one NHL hat trick. It came on March 20, 1999 in a 4-3 Oilers win over the Vancouver Canucks.
In the postseason, Grier had 14 goals and 14 assists for 28 points in 101 games. He had 72 penalty minutes, one power play goal, one shorthanded goal, two game-winning goals, and 177 shots on goal.
Three Seasons as a Player with the Sharks
Grier played 221 regular season games with the Sharks from 2006 to 2009. He had 35 goals and 43 assists for 78 points. Grier was a -5 with 92 penalty minutes, four power-play points, 11 shorthanded points, seven game-winning goals, and 365 shots on goal.
In the playoffs, Grier had two goals and three assists for five points in 30 games. He was a -3 with 35 penalty minutes, and 61 shots on goal.
Grier is the Brother of an NFL GM
What is fascinating about Mike Grier’s familial connection is that his brother is Chris Grier of Holliston, Massachusetts, the general manager of the Miami Dolphins since 2016. Mike and Chris’s father Bobby Grier was also the vice-president of player personnel with the New England Patriots from 1997 to 2000, and the associate director of professional personnel with the Houston Texans from 2000 to 2016.
Sharks Seeking a Return to Respectability
One of the first jobs for Grier will be to hire a head coach. The team fired Bob Boughner on Friday. Last season the Sharks had a record of 32 wins, 37 regulation losses, and 13 losses in extra time for 77 points. San Jose was sixth in the Pacific Division and missed the playoffs.