Mike Grier was named general manager of the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday, becoming the first black man in NHL history to hold the position.
The announcement ends a three-month search to fill the job after Doug Wilson stepped down earlier in the year. Grier was previously a hockey operations consultant for the New York Rangers.
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“It means a lot to me,” Grier said at the press conference. “It’s not something I take lightly. I realize that with the territory comes responsibility. But I’m ready for it. How I carry myself and how this organization carries itself, I think we’ll do well and we’ll hopefully leave a footprint and open some doors for people to follow. I will open.”
Grier played in the NHL from 1996 to 2011. He was a member of the Edmonton Oilers, Washington Capitals, Buffalo Sabers and Sharks. He played 448 games and scored 81 goals with 102 assists.
Sharks team president Jonathan Becher said Grier emerged as a top prospect from a deep pool and that Grier’s experience as a player, scout, coach and executive gave him the edge.
“I hope you will be an inspiration to many, and I hope you will be the first and certainly not the last,” Becher told Grier.
Previously, Grier worked as a scout for the Chicago Blackhawks, an assistant coach with the New Jersey Devils and in the Rangers front office.
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Joe Will is acting as General Manager on an interim basis. San Jose announced that head coach Bob Boughner and three assistants will not return next season. Grier will now have the opportunity to install his own coaching staff with the NHL draft and subsequent free agency.
“It’s definitely a balance. I don’t want to get ahead of myself and be a kid in a candy store and say, ‘I can carry this. I can have that.’ “We have to be patient, stick to the vision we believe in and not rush into things. We make a path and continue the path and move forward without rushing anything, and eventually we start digging a hole. We can’t get out of it in the future,” he said.
Grier comes from a family of successful sports executives. Bobby Grier, his father, worked in the front offices of the New England Patriots and the Houston Texans. Chris Grier, his brother, serves as the general manager of the Miami Dolphins.
Chris Grier released a statement about his brother breaking barriers in the NHL.
“I am very happy and proud of Mike. The San Jose Sharks organization is one of high character and integrity. He is always respected on the ice and by his teammates,” Chris said.
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“Mike brings his work ethic and passion to the job every day. Mike understands the game with the smarts, experience and knowledge to succeed as a GM. All the credit goes to my parents for how they raised us. We are very fortunate to have been able to watch and learn from my father Bobby while growing up. Mike and the San Jose Sharks Congratulations on a great hire!”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.