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Sharks hire Mike Grier as first Black GM in NHL history

He replaces interim GM Joe Will.

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Longtime pro hockey player Mike Grier made history Tuesday by being named the first Black general manager in NHL history.

For more than a day, the San Jose Sharks had been teasing a major announcement, set for Tuesday afternoon.

"There is no better source to confirm the news than himself," the Sharks finally tweeted just before 2 p.m. "Please say hello and hear from our new #SJSharks General Manager, Mike Grier."

Grier said he was excited to get to work and return to the Bay area.

ESPN had previously confirmed Grier was being hired to replace interim GM Joe Will, who has held the position since medical troubles forced veteran GM Doug Wilson to depart in November. As the cable network pointed out ahead of Tuesday's announcement, the addition of Grier comes less than a week after the Sharks fired head coach Bob Boughner for failing to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs yet again. It's the longest playoff drought in the team's history, as ESPN notes.

"I'm ready to work hard and get at it and get this thing back on the tracks," Grier told fans in a brief video Tuesday. "We're going to start winning some games in the shark tank and get it going again."

Last week, NHL insider Kevin Weekes said finding a GM with a history as a Shark was "a priority criteria" in the hiring process. Grier fits that criteria, having played three seasons with the team.

During his 14-year career as a player, the 47-year-old appeared in more than 1,000 games – racking up 162 goals and 221 assists across his time in San Jose, Buffalo, Washington and Edmonton, per Yahoo News. The media outlet said Grier's hiring as a GM was a "long time coming" for the NHL, referencing stats compiled by Sportsnet.

As Sportsnet writes, the NHL is decades behind other pro sports organizations in having a Black general manager. The network tweeted a list of history-making general managers across basketball, baseball and football.

Grier retired as a player in 2011 and went on to become a scout for the Chicago Blackhawks and later an operations adviser for the New York Rangers. As ESPN notes, he is the younger brother of Chris Grier – general manager of the Miami Dolphins.

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