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Mike Grier breaking barriers: becomes 1st Black general manager in NHL history

Mike Grier becomes the first black GM in NHL History

Mike Grier broke another barrier in the sport of hockey by becoming the first black general manager in the league’s history after the San Jose Sharks announced his appointment on Tuesday. 

The former 14-year veteran of the league last played for the Sharks prior to his retirement in 2011. Grier had front office experience over the past few years as a hockey operations advisor for the New York Rangers last season., and scouted for the Chicago Blackhawks. 

For the San Jose Sharks, the breaking of a new racial barrier was not the reason for the hire. 

“We hired the best general manager available,” team president Jonathan Becher said. “Mike just happens to be Black. The focus was on finding the best candidate for the job.”

Grier takes over for a team in a three-year playoff drought, longest in franchise history, and finished last season sixth in the Pacific Division. The Sharks also fired head coach, Bob Boughner before Grier was appointed. 

Grier is expected to “have full autonomy” to hire the Sharks’ next head coach.

The former hockey-player is not the only general manager in his family either. His brother Chris is currently the general manager of the Miami Dolphins and has been in the role since 2016.

“I am incredibly proud of Mike.” Chris said in a statement on the team’s twitter account. “The San Jose Sharks are getting a man of high character and integrity.”

The statement also mentioned the impact Chris and Mike’s parents had on the boys. Their father Bobby is also a consultant for the Dolphins.

Mike will have the spotlight almost immediately thrust upon him with the Sharks slated to have the 11th overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft on Thursday. For the new general manager though, it’s all about the plan he’s looking to put in place. 

“I think the main thing is to be to be yourself,” Mike said. “You don’t want to go somewhere and be phony. I’m trying to be open and honest, be myself — have a vision, be clear about your vision and when you come to how you want your vision to go, stick to your process. But the main thing is to be myself.”

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