Photo: NBC Sports
Grier becomes the fifth general manager in the Sharks franchise history, preceded by Doug Wilson (2003-22), Dean Lombardi (1996-03), Chuck Grillo (1992-96), and Jack Ferreira (1991-92).
He has the distinguished honor of becoming the first Black general manager in the history of the National Hockey League.
In this role, Grier will have overall authority regarding all aspects of the Sharks hockey-related operations, including overseeing all player personnel decisions, leading the club’s player evaluation process at all professional, minor, and junior levels, negotiating player contracts, directing the club’s on-ice coaching and off-ice support staffs, and managing the efforts of the team’s scouting department.
Grier will report directly to Plattner and President Jonathan Becher.
“I welcome Mike as the general manager of the Sharks,” said Plattner. “Mike’s successful career on the ice speaks for itself, but what impressed me the most were his leadership qualities and his overwhelming desire to win. Mike is aware of the high standards of success that are expected in San Jose and is committed to help us quickly return to that level.”
“I am extremely proud and grateful to be given the opportunity to be the general manager of the San Jose Sharks,” said Grier. “Along with my staff, I look forward to the challenge of building a fast, competitive, and hardworking team that Sharks fans will enjoy watching and be proud of. One of the things I remember most about playing in San Jose is the home ice advantage that our fans bring through their passion and energy, making SAP Center one of the most difficult buildings to play in.”
Mike Grier has officially been named general manager of the @SanJoseSharks.
He is the first Black GM in League history.
— NHL (@NHL) July 5, 2022
Grier, 47, has spent a lifetime in the game of hockey as a player, scout, coach, and executive.
Most recently, he was hand-picked by New York Rangers President and General Manager and former teammate Chris Drury to serve as a hockey operations advisor. In that role, Grier assisted Drury in hockey-related decisions and off-ice player development, and assisted prospects in the Rangers organization, including players with the Rangers’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack, with on-ice development.
Last season, a rebuilding Rangers team experienced a 50-point improvement over their 2020-21 campaign, finishing with a 52-24-6 record and 110 points, a second-place finish in the Metropolitan Division (seventh overall in the NHL) and advanced to the Eastern Conference Final, before succumbing to the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games.
Grier also served on USA Hockey’s selection committee for the 2022 World Championships, where he assisted in scouting, evaluating and selecting players for the U.S. team.
Prior to joining the Rangers, Grier was an assistant coach with the New Jersey Devils for two seasons (2018-20). As a member of Head Coach John Hynes’ staff, Grier worked directly with the forwards and assisted with the Devils special schemes. During his two seasons with the Devils, New Jersey’s penalty killing ranked third in the NHL (83.4%) and their net penalty killing percentage was second overall (87.4%). He was also responsible for pre-scouting the Devils opponents.
From 2014-18, Grier served as a scout with the Chicago Blackhawks, including their 2015 Stanley Cup Championship season. Grier focused on scouting amateur and professional players, including the team’s prospects and prospective player acquisitions both at the NHL level and via the NHL Draft.
From 2013-17, Grier served as an assistant coach at St. Sebastian’s Prep School in Needham, Mass. He has also been active in working on skill development with collegiate and high school hockey players at Boston University (2011-2017).
Former Washington Capitals player Mike Grier named the General Manager of the San Jose Sharks.
Grier becomes the first Black GM in NHL history. pic.twitter.com/K1JMoK6IYF
— Darren M. Haynes (@DarrenMHaynes) July 5, 2022
As a player, Grier spent 14 seasons in the National Hockey League as one of the game’s top defensive forwards and leaders. He amassed 1,060 NHL games with the Edmonton Oilers, Washington Capitals, Buffalo Sabres, and the Sharks, collecting 383 points (162 goals, 221 assists) along with 510 penalty minutes. He served as an alternate captain and as a member of the leadership group with each of his NHL teams. As a physical, penalty-killing forward annually in the conversation for the Frank J. Selke award, Grier helped establish a top unit on multiple teams, including a League-best penalty kill efficiency on San Jose in 2007-08 (85.8%), fifth-best in 2008-09 and he helped Buffalo achieve the second-best efficiency in 2009-10 (86.6%).
During his NHL tenure between 1996-2011, Grier tied for 11th amongst all NHL players with 20 short-handed goals. Despite the NHL not tracking advanced statistics until the 2005-06 season, Grier ranks 10th amongst all NHL forwards in blocked shots (315) and 33rd in hits (705) over the course of his career.
He initially joined the Sharks organization as a free agent on July 3, 2006 and over the next three seasons, appeared in 221 NHL games, recording 78 points (35 goals, 43 assists). As an alternate captain, Grier helped the Sharks reach the Stanley Cup Conference Semifinals in 2006-07 and 2007-08. He was also a member of the Sharks 2008-09 Presidents’ Trophy-winning club that won 53 games and earned 117 points.
His best season with the franchise was in 2006-07 where he registered 33 points (16 goals, 17 assists) in 81 games and led the club in short-handed goals (three). He then added four points (two goals, two assists) in the 2007 postseason in 11 games, which included a two-point game where he scored a goal and assisted on the game-winning goal by Patrick Rissmiller in the second overtime of Game One of the Western Conference Quarter Final against the Nashville Predators, en route to a 4-1 series victory for the Sharks.
Originally selected by the St. Louis Blues in the 1993 NHL Draft (ninth round, 219th overall), Grier’s rights were later traded to the Edmonton Oilers, along with goaltender Curtis Joseph, for St. Louis’ first-round selections in the 1996 and 1997 NHL Drafts. Grier earned a spot on the Oilers roster directly after his collegiate career and never played a game in the minor leagues. Upon his NHL debut on Oct. 4, 1996, Grier became the first African American born and trained in the U.S. to play in the NHL.
Could not be happier for Mike. Can’t tell you how many times @Capitals PR sent Mike out for a postgame interview after a loss ( and there were plenty between 2002-04 ) and he ALWAYS handled it with grace and true professionalism. A class act all the way.
Congrats, Mike ! https://t.co/nVlXAkPOMR
— Al Koken (@RealSmokinAl) July 5, 2022
Grier’s teams appeared in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 11 of his 14 NHL seasons, including advancing to the 2006 Eastern Conference Final, where Buffalo narrowly lost a seven-game series to Carolina. In 101 Stanley Cup Playoff games, Grier tallied 28 points (14 goals, 14 assists) and 72 penalty minutes.
Grier has also had a long-standing relationship as a player and a coach with USA Hockey, beginning with being selected to the 1995 World Junior Championship team. He was a member of the 1996 U-21 National team and captured a bronze medal at the 2003 World Championships, where he was named an assistant captain. Off the ice, Grier served as coach at the USA Hockey 17s Festival and the CCM All-American Prospects Game in 2014, was an assistant coach for the U.S. women’s national team for the Winter Series vs. Canada (2016) and was a coach and a member of the selection committee for the U.S. women’s national team Olympic evaluation camps (2015-2017) ahead of the 2018 Winter Games.
Prior to his NHL career, Grier played for Boston University over three seasons, compiling 120 points (59 goals, 61 assists) in 114 games. He helped lead the team to an NCAA Championship in 1995 and captured a Hockey East Championship in two consecutive seasons (1993-95). Following the 1994-95 season, he was named to the All-Hockey East First Team, selected to the Division I AHCA All-American Team, won the Walter Brown Award as the best U.S.-born collegiate player in New England, and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, awarded to the top collegiate hockey player. Grier was selected as the BU’s captain for the 1995-96 season but withdrew from the university to begin his NHL career.
Grier comes from a family embedded in the fabric of leadership, scouting and development in professional sports. His father, Bobby, is a long-time executive in the National Football League, with stints in scouting, player personnel and as an advisor with the New England Patriots and Houston Texans. He currently serves as a consultant with the Miami Dolphins. His brother, Chris, has served as general manager of the Miami Dolphins since 2016. Chris worked as a scout for Miami dating back to 2000, and previously worked in scouting with the Patriots beginning in 1995.
Grier, a native of Detroit, MI, and his wife, Anne, have three children: sons Jayden and Tristan, and daughter Brooklyn.
The Sharks fired head coach Bob Boughner on Thursday to let Grier decide who the next one will be.
The team missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the third straight season in 2021-22, when they finished 12th in the Western Conference with a 32-37-13 record. The team averaged 2.57 goals-per-game (30th in the NHL), 3.18 goals-against per game (21st), a 19% power play efficiency (22nd), and an 85.2% penalty-killing rate (second).