Mike Grier becomes National Hockey League’s first Black GM 

The former NFL player described his achievement as "something that I’m extremely proud of" at an introductory news conference Tuesday.

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The San Jose Sharks have hired Mike Grier, making the hockey veteran the National Hockey League’s first Black general manager. 

The Houston Chronicle reported that Grier told reporters his achievement is “something that I’m extremely proud of” at an introductory news conference Tuesday.

Mike Grier listens to questions as he is introduced as the new general manager of the San Jose Sharks at a news conference in San Jose Tuesday. (Photo: Jeff Chiu/AP)

“Since my playing days, the league has gotten more and more diverse, more Black players in the league and minorities in the league,” he said. “There’s more women and minorities in the front office in scouting and coaching positions. So from my standpoint, that’s something I am very happy to see.”

Grier played 14 seasons in the league as a forward with the Edmonton Oilers, Washington Capitals, Buffalo Sabres, and the Sharks. He was an NHL scout from 2014 to 2018 and a coaching assistant in New Jersey from 2018 to 2020. Last season, he served as a hockey operations adviser for the New York Rangers. 

Grier’s father, Bobby, was a former player personnel executive for the Houston Texans. His older brother, Chris, is the general manager of the Miami Dolphins. 

Grier’s new boss, team president Jonathan Becher, said he stood out from other San Jose GM candidates because of his experience as a player, scout, coach and executive. Further, Becher noted that Grier had spent years building a winning culture with the Sharks. 

Becher said Grier’s hiring was historic, telling him Tuesday, “I hope you do serve as an inspiration to lots of people and … I hope you’re the first and certainly not the last.” 

Per NBC News, Grier told those assembled Tuesday that his new role was “not something I take lightly.”

“I realize there’s a responsibility that comes with the territory,” he said. “But I’m up for it. How I carry myself and how this organization carries [itself], I think we’ll do well, and hopefully we’ll leave a footprint and open some doors for people to follow.”

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