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San Jose Sharks name Mike Grier as the NHL’s first black general manager’

San Jose Sharks hire Mike Grier as general manager, making him the first black executive to hold that title for an NHL team

  • Retired hockey player Mike Grier is reportedly set to be named the Sharks new GM and become the first African American to hold that position in the NHL
  • The team has scheduled a press conference for Tuesday morning in San Jose, where they are expected to announce Grier’s hiring, according to reports
  • Grier is the younger brother of Miami Dolphins general manager, Chris Grier
  • Their dad was the first black full-time assistant football coach at Boston College
  • The NHL didn’t have a black player until 1958 or a black coach until 1999 
  • Mike Grier played for the Edmonton Oilers, Washington Capitals, Buffalo Sabres and San Jose Sharks over his 14 NHL seasons, and has recently worked as a scout

Retired hockey player Mike Grier has been named the San Jose Sharks general manager to become the first African American to hold that position for an NHL team.

The news was first reported by ESPN analyst and former NHL goaltender, Kevin Weekes.  

Although the 47-year-old Grier would be the NHL’s first black general manager, he wouldn’t be the first member of his family to hold the title with a professional sports franchise. That distinction belongs to his older brother, Chris, who has served as the Miami Dolphins’ GM since 2016.

Mike Grier #25 of the San Jose Sharks looks on against the Anaheim Ducks during Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinal Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Honda Center on April 21, 2009 in Anaheim

Retired hockey player Mike Grier is reportedly set to be named the San Jose Sharks general manager and become the first African American to hold that position for an NHL team

Although the 47-year-old Grier would be the NHL's first black general manager, he wouldn't be the first member of his family to hold the title with a pro team. That distinction belongs to his older brother, Chris (pictured), who has served as the Miami Dolphins' GM since 2016

Although the 47-year-old Grier would be the NHL’s first black general manager, he wouldn’t be the first member of his family to hold the title with a pro team. That distinction belongs to his older brother, Chris (pictured), who has served as the Miami Dolphins’ GM since 2016

Grier's father, Bobby (pictured left speaking with Patriots owner Bob Kraft in the 1990s) was the first black full-time assistant football coach at Boston College and held coaching and front-office positions in the NFL

Grier’s father, Bobby (pictured left speaking with Patriots owner Bob Kraft in the 1990s) was the first black full-time assistant football coach at Boston College and held coaching and front-office positions in the NFL 

Furthermore, the brothers’ father, Bobby, was Boston College’s first black full-time assistant coach and later served as a New England Patriots assistant and executive before moving to the Houston Texans and Dolphins.

Dirk Graham remains the NHL's first and only black head coach, after guiding the Blackhawks for part of one season in 1999

Dirk Graham remains the NHL’s first and only black head coach, after guiding the Blackhawks for part of one season in 1999

The younger Grier played for the Edmonton Oilers, Washington Capitals, Buffalo Sabres and San Jose Sharks over his 14 NHL seasons. Since then, the former Boston University star has worked as a scout for the Chicago Blackhawks and as an adviser to the New York Rangers.

Compared to more diversified leagues, such as the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball, the NHL has been slower integrate.

The NHL didn’t have a black player until Willie O’Ree debuted for the Boston Bruins in 1958.

The league didn’t see its first black coach for another 40 years, when Dirk Graham briefly held the position for the Chicago Blackhawks for 59 games in 1999. Graham, who now works as a Sharks scout, remains the only African-American head coach in NHL history.

Grier will replace interim Sharks GM, Joe Will, who took over in November when Doug Wilson stepped down for medical reasons. The team recently fired head coach Bob Boughner and his staff, meaning Grier will be tasked with finding his replacement.

Willie O'Ree, 22, of Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, was the NHL's first black player

Willie O’Ree, 22, of Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, was the NHL’s first black player

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