Mike Greer, who spent 14 seasons in the NHL as a brave right winger, was named Tuesday general manager of the San Jose Sharks, becoming the first black general manager in the history of the league who just completed his 105th season.
Greer, 47, who retired as a player in 2011, came to the team after working as a scout in Chicago and spending two years as an assistant coach with the Devils. Last season, he served as a hockey operations consultant for the Rangers, reporting to team president and general manager Chris Drury, who played with Greer at Boston University and with the Buffalo Sabers.
Jarir hails from an accomplished athletic family. His older brother, Chris, has been the Miami Dolphins’ general manager since 2016, and his father, Bobby, was an NFL player and coach with the New England Patriots before taking front office jobs with the Patriots, the Houston Texans. and dolphins.
“The main thing my dad instilled in us is a work ethic,” Mike Greer said at a press conference in San Jose, California. “He left for work before we got up to school and sometimes he wouldn’t come home until after dinner or when we were ready for bed. He would stay up all hours. To explore, all that needs to be done.”
Recruitment is a milestone in the NHL, with black players making up a small minority of league rosters and holding a few front-office positions.
Greer said he hopes his appointment will create opportunities for others.
“Since my playing days, the league itself has become more diverse, and that’s something I’m happy to see,” he said. “My job is to do my best for the San Jose organization, and if I do, I hope it opens the door for other minorities to take up front office positions.”
When Greer entered the league with the Edmonton Oilers in the 1996-97 season, he was reported to be the first African-American player born and developed in the United States to play for the NHL, Florida-born Val James, who entered the league in 1981, and Indiana-born Donald Brashear appearing For the first time in the NHL in 1993, they both played junior hockey in Canada.
Greer, who was 6-foot-1, 225 pounds in his playing days, played middle school hockey at St. Sebastian’s School in Needham, Massachusetts, and was selected in the ninth round of the 1993 draft, and ranked 219th overall, by St. Sebastian. Louis Blues. That fall, while Brashear was playing his first game for the Montreal Canadiens, Greer arrived at Boston University as a parker.
In his sophomore year, Greer was the top scorer on the BU’s National Championship team playing on the first line, while Drury was a freshman in the fourth grade. Grier began his career with Edmonton and has worked at Washington Capitals, Sabers and Sharks.
Jonathan Beecher, president of Sharks Sports and Entertainment, the franchise’s parent company, said comments from Drury played an important role in team selection, as did this year’s Rangers recovery, which reached the Eastern Conference Finals.
“Chris has known Mike for a long time and has given Mike a strong endorsement as General Manager,” Beecher said. “Mike has that strength of character. Mike is a leader.”
“I have had the privilege of knowing Mike over three decades and have the utmost respect for him as a person, player, and CEO,” Drury said in a statement. “I look forward to seeing what he does to the sharks.”
Grier joins a franchise in transition: San Jose reached the Western Conference finals in 2019, but has since missed the playoffs three years in a row, the longest drought in the franchise’s 30-year history.
Sharks coach Bob Bogner fired last week. Greer replaces Joe Weil, who served as interim general manager after Doug Wilson stepped down in April.
Greer said he had no timetable for hiring a coach, and was immediately focused on the National Hockey League draft, which begins Thursday in Montreal. San Jose has the overall pick number 11. The Sharks have a roster full of aging stars — including defender Eric Carlson, Brent Burns and Mark Edward Vlasic — who have big contracts that could limit San Jose’s ability to sign free agents.
The team’s top scorers last season were Timo Maier and Thomas Hertl, who scored 35 goals and 30 goals. Meyer is 25 years old and Hertle 27.
Greer said he is not looking for an overhaul of the team.
“I’m not going to tear up the list,” he said. “For us, there may be some bumps in the road ahead, but we will try to improve and improve the roster every day.”