Seattle names Ron Francis as general manager

The NHL expansion franchise in Seattle is starting to put its organizational pieces together

Brayton Wilson
July 17, 2019 - 7:19 am

Photo: Bruce Bennett - Getty Images

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The NHL expansion franchise in Seattle is starting to put some organizational pieces together for its inaugural season in 2021-22.

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The team announced on Thursday that it has hired former Carolina Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis as the first ever general manager in franchise history.

Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman was the first to report the news on Tuesday.

"After seven months of due diligence, research, conversations, interviews and evaluation, we are thrilled to announce Ron as our GM," said NHL Seattle CEO Tod Leiweke in a team statement.

"Ron is the perfect fit for the team we are building. Ron will make everyone better."  

Since his retirement as a player in 2004, Francis has served in some sort of an organizational role with the Hurricanes franchise, starting in 2006 when he became the director of player development. The Hall of Famer eventually worked his way up the ranks to general manager in 2014 when he replaced long-time general manager Jim Rutherford.

Francis served as the general manager in Carolina for parts of four seasons before he was re-assigned to executive vice president of hockey operations in March of 2018 by new owner Tom Dundon. Nearly two months later, the Hurricanes organization terminated his contract.

During his time as general manager in Carolina, Francis went 130-131-53 but never got the chance to build a playoff team in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The 56-year-old was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007 after a 23-year NHL career spent with the Hartford Whalers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Hurricanes and Toronto Maple Leafs.

Francis ranks fourth all-time in games played in the NHL (1,731), second all-time in assists (1,249) and fifth all-time in points (1,798). He was a back-to-back Stanley Cup champion in 1991 and 1992 with the Penguins, a three-time winner of the Lady Byng Trophy (1995, 1998 and 2002), and a winner of the Selke Trophy (1995), as well as the King Clancy Trophy (2002).

Francis was a former fourth overall pick of the Whalers in the 1981 NHL Draft.

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