- The San Jose Sharks have hired Mike Grier as their next General Manager.
- Grier becomes the NHL’s first black general manager, replacing interim GM GM Joe Will.
- Grier played 14 seasons in the NHL with four teams, including the Sharks.
The San Jose Sharks have hired Mike Grier as the franchise’s next general manager. Grier replaces interim GM Joe Will who stepped down from the team in April after 19 years with the Sharks. Will took over the role on an interim basis when longtime GM Doug Wilson resigned for medical reasons.
Grier makes history in his new role–he’s the first black GM in NHL history. Interestingly, his brother is also a pro sports team’s general manager. Older brother Chris Grier has been the GM of the NFL Miami Dolphins since 2016. His father is also a long-time NFL coach/executive now serving as a consultant for the Dolphins.
Grier played 14 seasons in the NHL for four different teams–including San Jose–before retiring in 2011. He then moved into the front office working as a hockey operations advisor for the New York Rangers last year and as a scout for the Chicago Blackhawks before that. His first order of business is likely to find a new head coach to replace Bob Boughner. Boughner was fired late last week. The Sharks are in need of a rebuild and have missed the playoffs for three straight years. That’s the longest run without a playoff experience in franchise history.
At the press conference announcing his hiring, Grier affirmed that he’s very proud to become the NHL’s first black GM:
“It’s something I’m extremely proud of. I realized there was a responsibility that comes with the territory but I’m up for it [with] how I carry myself and how the organization carries themselves. … For me, my job is to do the best I can for the San Jose Sharks organization, and if I do that, hopefully it opens the door to give other opportunities to other minorities to get in front-office positions and maybe lead a team down the road as well.”
Meanwhile, team president Jonathan Becher made clear that wasn’t the reason Grier was hired:
“We hired the best general manager available. Mike just happens to be Black. The focus was on finding the best candidate for the job.”
“Having said that, it’s great. It’s part of our pioneering spirit, which is get the most out of everybody and expand the sport. San Jose is a very culturally diverse area as well. So I hope you do serve as an inspiration of lots of people and then I hope you’re the first but certainly not the last.”
Grier was one of several candidates the Sharks considered to fill the GM vacancy. Although this is his first GM job he was quick to draw on the mentorship of his family:
“As soon as I told my dad about the job, he went right into the mode of giving me tips and advice. I talk to [him and Chris] a lot and my brother’s recently been through this [process] with the Dolphins, where he made some decisions to move on from some players to be better in the future and he’s turned that team around in about four years.”
“It’s something we’ve talked about and growing up, we talked about the challenges of building rosters and things like that. I lean on them a lot. They’ve got a lot of different perspective because the sports, but I definitely trust their input.”
“I think the main thing is to be to be yourself. You don’t want to go somewhere and be phony. I’m trying to be open and honest, be myself — have a vision, be clear about your vision and when you come to how you want your vision to go, stick to your process. But the main thing is to be myself.”
The Sharks finished 32-37-13 last season, sixth in the Pacific Division.