By James Garrison
This article is part of the 2022-2023 printed “Hockey Edition” that will be available on campus Friday, Sept. 30 and at both men’s and women’s opening nights. Be sure to get your copy!
As a ninth-round draft pick, not much was going to be handed to Mike Grier.
Just two months after being selected in a round so late it no longer exists, Grier’s journey would pass through Commonwealth Ave. Upon his departure just three seasons later, Grier had left a National Champion and all-time great Terrier poised to jump into the professional ranks.
After over 1,000 games and 14 years in the NHL, Grier found his journey reaching historical levels, a long way from his days in Beantown. The ongoing journey that saw Grier pass through Comm Ave reached its latest stop: the first Black general manager in NHL history.
“I am extremely proud and grateful to be given the opportunity to be the general manager of the San Jose Sharks,” said Grier in an introductory statement. “Along with my staff, I look forward to the challenge of building a fast, competitive, and hardworking team that Sharks fans will enjoy watching and be proud of.”
With much overhaul on and off the ice in San Jose, much was left for Grier to chart the course for the next era of Sharks hockey. Grier’s busy summer of hirings and signings was headlined at the head coaching position, where a Comm Ave connection was brought to the Bay Area with the hiring of David Quinn.
For most, the benefits of a strong alumni network rarely reap such results. For Quinn, though, a call from Grier allowed him to continue to reap the benefits of his combined nine years as a player and coach of the Terriers.
After an entire season of waiting for his shot to return to the NHL’s coaching ranks, Quinn had finally received the call he had been waiting for.
“Did you go to BU? I didn’t even know that,” Quinn said jokingly to Grier when asked about their BU connection.
Even though their paths never crossed as players or coaches on Comm Ave, the two found many common threads between their separate stints as Terriers. Of those, the strongest thread that united them came from none other than Jack Parker.
“I think Jack Parker is the kind of the tie that binds us all together,” Grier said. “The program has got a lot of history and we all enjoyed playing there.”
Parker’s strong tie helped bridge the gap of almost a decade that separated Quinn and Grier’s enrollment, allowing the two to cultivate a professional relationship long before Quinn’s hiring.
“When Quinny was coaching there, I needed to get out of the house sometimes and get a workout in,” Grier said. “He was kind enough to talk hockey with me and let me pick his brain.”
Many other Terrier connections can be found littered throughout the Sharks organization, from player personnel to the coaching staff. Both Nick Bonino and Matt Nieto will be entering their contract years with the Sharks. As both are bottom of the lineup, aging players, it is unlikely that either fit in Grier’s long-term vision of the team.
Additionally, Ryan Warsofsky, brother of former Terrier David Warsofsky, will join the Sharks video staff.
With much work to do in the Bay Area to return the Sharks to their former levels of success, some of the Terriers will be a larger part of the future than others, namely Quinn and Grier.
Both fit into a very small hockey world, one in which the influence of Boston University has not been lost, even as the program searches to recapture the standard of the program that elevated Quinn and Grier to the positions they are in today.
“The BU community is very tight,” said Grier. “We all love the school and are proud of the program. I think that just leads to everyone having good relationships together.”