Mike Grier, a retired NHL forward, broke a longstanding barrier in the league as the first appointed Black general manager when the San Jose Sharks announced his introduction to the position on Tuesday.
The San Jose Sharks’ three-month search for a general manager ended with a historic hire after Doug Wilson stepped down earlier in the year, Fox Sports reports.
“It means a lot to me,” Grier said at a press conference. “It’s not something I take lightly. I realize there’s a responsibility that comes with the territory. But I’m up for it. How I carry myself and how this organization carries himself, I think we’ll do well and hopefully we’ll leave a footprint and open some doors for people to follow.”
The new role is a homecoming for Grier, who played 14 seasons in the NHL— for Edmonton Oilers, Washington Capitals, Buffalo Sabres, and the Sharks — before his retirement in 2011, per the news outlet. He scored 81 goals with 102 assists throughout his hockey career.
The Detroit native most recently served as a hockey operations adviser for the New York Rangers last season and scouted for the Chicago Blackhawks from 2014 to 2018, according to ESPN.
In celebration, Sharks’ team president, Jonathan Becher spoke highly of Grier and said they “hired the best general manager available.”
“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,” Becher added.
As general manager, Grier will now have the opportunity to build his own coaching staff with the 2022 NHL Entry Draft coming up on July 7 and 8 in Montreal, determined by conclusion of the Stanley Cup Final. He will also be gearing up for the free agency, which starts on July 13.
“It’s definitely a balance. I don’t want to get ahead of myself and be the kid in a candy store and be like ‘I can go get this. I can go get that.’ We’ve got to stay patient and stick with the vision that we believe in and not rush things. I think we’ll set a path and stay the course and not rush anything and get ahead of ourselves and end up digging a hole that we can’t get out of in the future,” Grier said, per Fox Sports.