SAN JOSE, Calif. - The San Jose Sharks recently made history when they named Mike Grier, the team's new general manager: he is the first Black general manager in NHL history.
Grier played for 14 seasons in the league, three of those with the Sharks. He retired in 2011 and since then has worked in the league as a scout, assistant coach and senior advisor.
KTVU's Greg Lee recently sat down with Grier to talk hockey, family and breaking barriers. The full interview will run on July's episode of "Voices for Change"; here is some of the conversation:
Q: "The NHL just held its 105th season — you are the first Black general manager in the history of the league, what does that mean to you?"
A: "Yeah it means a lot. It’s definitely a special honor, take pride in, and realize there’s some responsibility in that. The game’s growing more and more and getting more and more diverse—not only on the ice but off the ice, and coaching and front office positions and scouting. This is a step for all minorities and hopefully I can do a good job and open other doors for others behind me."
Q: "I want to ask you about your family. You come from quite the family, your brother Chris, GM of the (Miami) Dolphins, your dad longtime coach, front office executive in the NFL. What was their response to you when you took this position?"
A: "They’re really excited. Both of them, I owe them a lot, they both helped guide me through this process. Even from younger years, they’ve always shared their thoughts, and views and visions with me and when I told them, my dad couldn’t have been more excited and immediately went into mentor mode, trying to tell me what I need to do. I need to do this, need to do that, things to help me get ready for the job. Chris was thrilled for me. He’s my big brother, I always looked up to him, and he was always looked out for me and wanted the best for me. He was super happy as well."
Q: "When you look to that rink and you see all the kids out there today, and for the young men and women of color, that see you and think, ‘I could be him someday. He looks like me.’ What do you want them to feel when they see you?"
A: "I want them to see someone who’s worked hard, carries himself the right way. That is something my dad always stressed to me. It’s just as important how you play, as how you carry yourself. Everyone is going to be judging and watching. For me, it’s to see someone who goes about their day, works hard, but carries themselves the right way and maybe someone they can look up to. If they work hard and have a dream, there’s no reason they can’t achieve it."