According to multiple reports, Mike Grier will be named general manager of the San Jose Sharks, becoming the first Black man in NHL history to hold the front office position. Grier also catches up to his younger brother Chris, who has been general manager of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins since 2016.
**Breaking News** 🚨 📰
I’m told Mike Grier will be named the new GM of the @SanJoseSharks tomorrow. He becomes the first Black Person in over 100 years of @NHL Hockey to make history in doing so.@espn #HockeyTwitter pic.twitter.com/wbGcLlU7qX
— Kevin Weekes (@KevinWeekes) July 5, 2022
After playing 14 seasons in the NHL, Grier served as an assistant coach and scout for several teams, including the Chicago Blackhawks, New Jersey Devils, and New York Rangers. He spent the last year as the Rangers hockey operations adviser. Grier returns to San Jose, where he played from 2006-09.
In his career Grier played in 1,060 NHL games. He amassed 383 points (162 goals, 221 assists) and 510 penalty minutes in those games. During his playing tenure he was one of the best penalty killers in the league, routinely improving that unit on every team he played.
Grier hails from a family devoted to professional sports. His father Bobby is a longtime NFL executive, serving as director of pro scouting and player personnel for the New England Patriots, and Houston Texans. Bobby now works as a consultant for the Dolphins with his other son Chris.
There is no better source to confirm the news than himself.
— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) July 5, 2022
Mike Grier will have his work cut out for him in San Jose. After 13 playoff appearances in 14 seasons, the Sharks have missed the playoffs the past three seasons. In addition, the entire coaching staff was fired at the end of June.
The Sharks have been a model of consistency in the front office since 2003. Doug Wilson was named the team’s general manager in May of that year and held the position until April of this year.
The team only missed the playoffs five times during Wilson’s run. He was good at his job but the Sharks were also in very good shape when he took over.
Grier needs to find a new coach and clean up the team’s cap sheet. They have a number of players over the age of 32 locked into deals into the 2025 season that limit their cap room.
Like all general managers he will need to establish a clear vision for the style he wants this team to play and a coach that will foster it. Then he needs to identify players who fit that style and bring them aboard. Preferably younger players on team-friendly deals that outperform what they are being paid.
Lots to do. But for now, the Grier family has added another accomplishment to its list of many. Bobby Grier has two sons that run franchises in two of the four major North American sports. That’s an unlikely feat for any family, let alone a Black one.
If the NFL is woefully behind in its diversity efforts as it relates to hiring, the NHL is something out of the Stone Age. Now the NHL is a predominantly white league but its record on making the game accessible and welcoming to all people is abhorrent. So what Grier has accomplished is just short of a miracle.
Like all firsts, the burden will be a lot for Grier. His success or failure will play a role in future opportunities for minorities, even though it shouldn’t.