Buffalo Sabres alumnus Mike Grier was named general manager of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks on Tuesday, becoming the first-ever Black GM in the league in an historic move that’s undoubtedly been a long time coming.
The NHL is the last of the four ‘big’ professional men’s sports leagues to hire a Black person to be a general manager. The NBA and MLB did it in the 1970s with Wayne Embry (1972) and Bill Lucas (1976), while the NFL followed suit in 2002 with Ozzie Newsome.
While the fact that it took the NHL until the year 2022 to hire its first Black person as a general manager isn’t something to celebrate or praise the league for, Grier’s hiring is certainly special. Originally a 1993 draft pick of the St. Louis Blues, the now 47-year-old went on to play 1,060 career NHL games.
He played two separate stints with the Sabres, from 2003 until 2006 (inclusive of the lockout year) and again from 2009 until 2011. In total, he amassed 70 points in 241 games with the Sabres, and 383 points over the course of his entire career between Buffalo, Edmonton, Washington and San Jose.
The Detroit native was hired by the Chicago Blackhawks as a scout in 2014, a position he served in until 2018. He then spent two years as an assistant coach with the New Jersey Devils, then served as a Hockey Operations Coordinator with the New York Rangers.
Grier’s brother, Chris Grier, is general manager of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins.