On Thursday, the NHLPA announced that former Terrier Mike Grier was officially retiring from a 14-year NHL career. Grier was a star in his three years at BU, winning a national championship in his sophomore season and collecting 120 points (59 goals, 61 assists) in three seasons on Comm Ave. Grier then spent his NHL career building a reputation as a tough, physical forward who consistently put up 20-plus point seasons. In our regular Thursday interview with coach Jack Parker, we asked the bench boss to share what he remembers the most of his former star. The following is what he had to say:
First of all, the first thing that jumps out about Mike’s career was that when he was here, he was an absolutely fabulous guy. Great teammate, great act around the campus, great representative of us in the classroom. He always did the next right thing and you couldn’t help notice who he was, that he was a BU hockey player. He was a good advertisement of who a BU hockey player was.
I remember when we were recruiting him. When we recruit players we sit around and we talk and we like to have that player have something really special. What’s the one special thing he does? What’s the one thing [Adam] Clendening does? He’s a real good offensive defenseman. What’s the special thing about [Garrett] Noonan? He’s a vicious competitor. We were talking about Mike, and the thing that’s special about Mike Grier is his size, right? ‘No, no, the thing that’s special about Mike Grier is watch after every game. When he walks out of the dressing room, he’s got four of his guys tailing around after him and he’s got five guys he just played against waiting to see him and talk to him because he’s such a terrific guy. He’ll be captain of this team, I guarantee it, if we get him here.’ That didn’t come to fruition because he signed before his senior year. But he’s lived up to that in spades, lets say, a terrific, terrific kid. A kid making sure he did the right thing. And he was a great example of what we want with a hard work, competitive, hard-nosed player.
And sooner or later everybody has to join the beer league. And this summer he was working out with [BU strength and conditioning coach] Mike Boyle and wondering whether or not he was going to get another year in. Same with Jay Pandolfo. Chris Drury was pretty sure he wasn’t [going to play another year]. But all those guys played together, it was all around the same time. Jay did hook on again and get another year and he’s doing pretty well on the Islanders. I’m sure Mike could have played but he didn’t sign in the right spot he wanted. I’m sure there are several teams that would have taken him but none that he wanted. A terrific career in the NHL, a terrific representative of the NHL as well. Now we’ll see him around some BU hockey games more often.