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NHL Team's Historic Hiring of the League's First Black GM

An NHL team is set to hire the league's first black general manager.

According to NHL reporter Kevin Weekes, Mike Grier will become the general manager of the San Jose Sharks. The news may not be HBCU sports-related, but it is historic for blacks and minorities in the NHL. 

Grier's hiring signals a significant change within the NHL. San Jose will make him the first black person ever to hold the title of general manager and the highest-ranking black executive in the National Hockey League.

His brother is Chris Grier, the Miami Dolphins' general manager; his father is Bobby Grier, who served as associate director of pro scouting for the Houston Texans, and vice president of scouting for the New England Patriots.

Grier, 47, will continue the lineage of blacks at executive levels in professional sports. Nevertheless, his hiring is groundbreaking. The NHL has existed since 1917, and no black person has ever held the general manager's position and power.

The St. Louis Blues selected Mike Grier as the 219th overall selection in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft. Grier was a right-wing out of Boston University. Before suiting up for the Blues, the Edmonton Oilers traded for Grier, where he played for six seasons.

The checking-line right-winger had stints with the Washington Capitals, Buffalo Sabres, and San Jose Sharks.  

Mike Grier
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Grier is known for his tenacity, toughness, and gritty play in penalty-killing situations for his teams. Numerous shoulder injuries contributed to his retirement after playing over 1,000 NHL games. He officially announced his retirement from hockey on Dec. 1, 2011.

He has been an assistant coach for several NHL teams and returned to his high school to become a coach. On May 19, 2021, the New York Rangers hired Grier as its hockey operations advisor.

San Jose will have Grier assume the GM duties to replace interim general manager Mike Will who superseded longtime executive Doug Wilson. Severe health conditions influenced Willson to step away from the club in November 2021.

Grier officially had 1060 game appearances and scored 162 goals, 221 assists, and 383 points in regular-season action. During the postseason, he played in 101 contests and scored 14 goals, 14 assists, and 28 points. The rugged right-wing player notched 582 penalty minutes in his career.

Former All-Pro defensive tackle Rosey Grier is a relative of Mike Grier. Rosey played alongside HBCU legend Deacon Jones for the Los Angeles Rams as a member of the Fearsome Foursome defensive linemen.

Mike Grier as a son playing hockey with the Boston Jr. Terriers 03 AAA team.

Currently, no HBCU schools offer a hockey program.  William Douglas wrote that Tennessee State is considering becoming the first HBCU to start a Division 1 hockey team.

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