Mike Grier, who spent 14 seasons within the N.H.L. as a gritty proper wing, on Tuesday was named basic supervisor of the San Jose Sharks, changing into the primary Black basic supervisor within the historical past of a league that simply accomplished its a hundred and fifth season.
Grier, 47, who retired as a participant in 2011, involves the workforce after having labored as a scout for Chicago and spending two years as an assistant coach with the Devils. Last season, he labored as a hockey operations adviser to the Rangers, reporting to the workforce’s president and basic supervisor, Chris Drury, who performed with Grier at Boston University and with the Buffalo Sabres.
Grier comes from an completed sporting household. His older brother, Chris, has been the final supervisor of the Miami Dolphins since 2016, and his father, Bobby, was a university working again and a coach with the New England Patriots earlier than taking front-office jobs with the Patriots, the Houston Texans and the Dolphins.
“The main thing my father instilled in us is work ethic,” Mike Grier mentioned in a information convention in San Jose, Calif. “He left for work before we got up for school and sometimes he wouldn’t get home until after dinner or when we were ready to get in bed. He’d stay up till all hours to scout, whatever needed to be done.”
The hiring is a big milestone for the N.H.L., the place Black gamers make up a small minority of the league’s rosters and occupy few front-office posts.
Grier mentioned he hoped his appointment would create alternatives for others.
“Since my playing days, the league itself has gotten more and more diverse, and that’s something I’m happy to see,” he mentioned. “My job is to do the best I can for the San Jose organization, and if I do that, hopefully it opens the door to other minorities to get in front-office positions.”
When Grier entered the league with the Edmonton Oilers within the 1996-97 season, he was reported to be the primary African American participant born and developed within the United States to play within the N.H.L. The Florida-born Val James, who entered the league in 1981, and Donald Brashear, who was born in Indiana and debuted within the N.H.L. in 1993, each performed junior hockey in Canada.
Grier, who was 6-foot-1 and 225 kilos in his taking part in days, performed prep faculty hockey at St. Sebastian’s School in Needham, Mass., and was chosen within the ninth spherical of the 1993 draft, 219th general, by the St. Louis Blues. That fall, simply as Brashear was taking part in his first video games for the Montreal Canadiens, Grier arrived at Boston University as a walk-on.
In his sophomore yr, Grier was a prime scorer on B.U.’s nationwide championship workforce taking part in on the primary line, whereas Drury was a freshman on the fourth line. Grier began his professional profession with Edmonton and had stints with the Washington Capitals, Sabres and Sharks.
Jonathan Becher, president of Sharks Sports and Entertainment, the franchise’s mum or dad firm, mentioned suggestions from Drury performed a big position within the workforce’s choice, as did the rebound this yr by the Rangers, who reached the Eastern Conference finals.
“Chris has known Mike for a long time and gave Mike a strong endorsement as general manager,” Becher mentioned. “Mike has that strength of character. Mike is a leader.”
“I have had the privilege of knowing Mike for three decades and have the utmost respect for him as a person, player and executive,” Drury mentioned in a press release. “I look forward to seeing what he will do with the Sharks.”
Grier joins a franchise in transition: San Jose reached the Western Conference finals in 2019 however since then has missed the playoffs three years in a row, the longest playoff drought within the franchise’s 30-year historical past.
The Sharks fired Coach Bob Boughner final week. Grier replaces Joe Will, who served as the interim basic supervisor after Doug Wilson stepped down in April.
Grier mentioned he didn’t have a timetable for naming a coach, and was placing his speedy give attention to the N.H.L. draft, which begins Thursday in Montreal. San Jose has the No. 11 general choose. The Sharks have a roster heavy on getting older stars — together with the defensemen Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic — who’ve huge contracts that would restrict San Jose’s potential to signal free brokers.
The workforce’s two prime scorers final season had been Timo Meier and Tomas Hertl, who had 35 and 30 objectives. Meier is 25 and Hertl 27.
Grier mentioned he was not searching for an entire overhaul of the workforce.
“I’m not going to tear down the roster,” he mentioned. “For us, there might be a few bumps in the road ahead, but we’re going to try to get better and make the roster better every day.”