Sharks hire Mike Grier as NHL's first ever Black GM

The San Jose Sharks and former NHL forward Mike Grier made league history on Tuesday afternoon. (Getty)
The San Jose Sharks and former NHL forward Mike Grier made league history on Tuesday afternoon. (Getty)

The San Jose Sharks have named former NHL forward Mike Grier as the team's next general manager.

Grier becomes the first Black general manager in NHL history after San Jose made it official on Tuesday afternoon with a special video message from the man himself.

Grier, 47, played over 1000 games across 14 seasons in the NHL, with stints in Edmonton, Washington, Buffalo, and San Jose, scoring 162 goals and tallying 221 assists. His time with the Sharks between 2006-09 was reportedly an important part of San Jose's decision-making process, according to NHL insider Kevin Weekes.

For the National Hockey League, this has been a long time coming:

Following his playing career, Grier has worked with multiple organizations in varying roles. He joined the Chicago Blackhawks in 2014 and served as a member of their scouting team until 2018. Following his departure from Chicago, he served as an assistant coach with the New Jersey Devils from 2018-20. Most recently, Grier was a part of the New York Rangers front office as the team’s Hockey Operations Advisor.

Grier replaces Sharks interim general manager Joe Will, who has been at the helm for San Jose since early April after longtime GM Doug Wilson stepped down.

The first-time NHL GM will have his hands full rebuilding a Sharks team that has been treading water in recent seasons. In addition to hiring a new coaching staff following the exit of Bob Boughner and his assistants, Grier will need to navigate the NHL draft later this week with San Jose holding the 11th overall selection and boasting a relatively shallow prospect pool.

Last season, the Sharks finished with a meager 77 points (32-37-13) good for 6th place in the NHL’s Pacific Division. The team is hamstrung by several large contracts with ironclad no movement clauses attached, including a combined $26.5 million owed to the team’s aging defensive trio of Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

San Jose has missed the playoffs in each of the last three seasons, a far cry from its days as perennial contenders during the 2010’s that included a Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2016.

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