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Mike Grier
Mike grier.png
Born January 5, 1975 (1975-01-05) (age 44)
Detroit, Michigan
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight 227 lb (103 kg; 16 st 3 lb)
Position Right Wing
Shoots Right
Played for Edmonton Oilers
Washington Capitals
San Jose Sharks
Buffalo Sabres
National team Flag of the United States.svg United States
NHL Draft 219th overall, 1993
St. Louis Blues
Playing career 1996–2011

Mike Grier (born January 5, 1975) is a retired American professional ice hockey winger who played for four teams in the National Hockey League (NHL): the Edmonton Oilers, Washington Capitals, San Jose Sharks and the Buffalo Sabres.

Primarily a checking forward, Mike played 1,060 NHL games over 14 NHL seasons. He was also the first U.S.-born and U.S.-trained (meaning that he played his development years in the US) black player in the NHL.

Early LifeEdit

Mike was raised in Holliston, Massachusetts where he attended and played hockey at St. Sebastian's School. At the age of 9, he appeared in Sports Illustrated's "Faces In The Crowd" section in 1984.

Playing CareerEdit

Mike was originally drafted by the St. Louis Blues in the ninth round (219th overall) of the 1993 NHL Entry Draft, and was considered a long-shot to make an NHL team.

He spent his early playing days with Saint Sebastian's School and later with Boston University, culminating in his best amateur season in 1994–95 where he was named a first team all-star.

During his time at BU, his NHL rights were dealt to the Edmonton Oilers along with star goaltender Curtis Joseph in exchange for a pair of first round picks.

After leaving college, Mike immediately cracked the Oilers lineup as a checking-line right-winger, scoring 32 points and bearing a respectable +7 plus-minus rating.

During his time in Edmonton, Mike was best known for provoking Chris Simon of the Washington Capitals in 1997.

Mike allegedly made derogatory comments about Simon's Ojibwa heritage, and Simon allegedly responded with a racial slur directed at Grier and struck him in the head with his stick. Although the spoken words were never confirmed, Simon was suspended three games as a result of using his stick to hit him.

Mike played six seasons with the Oilers organization, including two in which he scored twenty goals.

On October 2, 2002, in order to free up roster space, Mike was traded to the Washington Capitals for a pair of draft choices. Incidentally, this put him and Simon on the same team for a short time; however, Simon was traded to Chicago after playing 10 games in the 2002–03 season.

The Capitals attempted to put a Stanley Cup-caliber team together, primarily built around star forward Jaromír Jagr and goaltender Olaf Kolzig. The team disappointed on the ice, although Mike remained a reliable checking player, but this didn't last long, however, as Washington traded him on March 4, 2004 to the Buffalo Sabres for Czech prospect Jakub Klepis.

Mike finished the season with Buffalo, scoring nine points, but the Sabres failed to make the playoffs. During the 2005–06 NHL season, he set a personal record, scoring four game-winning goals for the Sabres and contributing to their run to the 2006 Eastern Conference Finals.

Mike was then signed to a free agent deal by the San Jose Sharks where he recorded 16 goals, including three shorthanded, in his first season with San Jose. He scored nine and 10 goals in his next two seasons with the Sharks, respectively.

On August 10, 2009, Mike returned to the Buffalo Sabres. In the 2009–10 season, Buffalo was second overall in the NHL in penalty killing & Mike was a part of the top penalty killing units for these teams.

He played his 1000th NHL game on November 3, 2010, against the Boston Bruins, becoming the 254th player in NHL history to reach the milestone.

After not being re-signed by Buffalo for the 2011-12 season, Mike officially announced his retirement from the NHL on December 1, 2011.

Post-Playing CareerEdit

These days, Mike currently works as the assistant coach of Saint Sebastian's School, where he played his high school hockey.

Career StatisticsEdit

Regular season and playoffsEdit

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1992–93 St. Sebastian's School ISL 22 16 27 43 32
1993–94 Boston U. Terriers HE 39 9 9 18 58
1994–95 Boston U. Terriers HE 37 19 26 45 85
1995–96 Boston U. Terriers HE 38 21 26 47 82
1996–97 Edmonton Oilers NHL 79 15 17 32 45 12 3 1 4 4
1997–98 Edmonton Oilers NHL 66 9 6 15 73 12 2 2 4 13
1998–99 Edmonton Oilers NHL 82 20 24 44 54 4 1 1 2 6
1999–00 Edmonton Oilers NHL 65 9 22 31 68
2000–01 Edmonton Oilers NHL 74 20 16 36 20 6 0 0 0 8
2001–02 Edmonton Oilers NHL 82 8 17 25 32
2002–03 Washington Capitals NHL 82 15 17 32 36 6 1 1 2 2
2003–04 Washington Capitals NHL 68 8 12 20 32
2003–04 Buffalo Sabres NHL 14 1 8 9 4
2005–06 Buffalo Sabres NHL 81 7 16 23 28 18 3 5 8 2
2006–07 San Jose Sharks NHL 81 16 17 33 43 11 2 2 4 27
2007–08 San Jose Sharks NHL 78 9 13 22 24 13 0 1 1 2
2008–09 San Jose Sharks NHL 62 10 13 23 25 6 0 0 0 6
2009–10 Buffalo Sabres NHL 73 10 12 22 14 6 2 0 2 2
2010–11 Buffalo Sabres NHL 73 5 11 16 12 7 0 1 1 0
NHL totals 1060 162 221 383 510 101 14 14 28 72

InternationalEdit

Year Team Comp GP G A Pts PIM
1995 United States WJC 7 0 2 2 12
2004 United States WC 9 1 2 3 8
Junior int'l totals 7 0 2 2 12
Senior int'l totals 9 1 2 3 8

International PlayEdit

Medal record
Competitor for Flag of the United States.svg United States
Ice hockey
World Championships
Bronze 2004 Prague

Mike represented the United States in the 2004 IIHF World Championship in Prague.

AccoladesEdit

Award Year
All-Hockey East All-Star 1994–95
AHCA East First-Team All-American 1994–95

Personal LifeEdit

Mike's father is Bobby Grier, who is the Associate Director of Pro Personnel for the Houston Texans of the National Football League (NFL). Prior to that, he was a running back coach, director of pro scouting, and vice-president of player personnel for the New England Patriots of the NFL.

His brother is Chris Grier, the General Manager of the Miami Dolphins and another notable athlete in his family is Pro Bowl NFL defensive lineman Roosevelt "Rosey" Grier.