Ron Francis named new Carolina Hurricanes GM

Posted April 28, 2014

— Ron Francis was named the new general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes Monday, replacing Jim Rutherford who had held the position with the franchise for the last 20 years.

Francis, a 23-year veteran of the NHL, has been with the Hurricanes for the last eight years working in multiple roles. He was a first-round selection of the franchise, and fourth overall, in 1981 when they played in Hartford.

“I have the opportunity to put together a team that can win a Stanley Cup and that’s what I’d like to do,” Francis said at his introductory press conference. “I look at this as a fresh start and I’d like to look at every way we can improve. I don’t want to be a team that gets to the playoffs one year, I’d like to be able to do it year after year.”

Francis won two Stanley Cups with Pittsburgh in the 1990’s and played with the Hurricanes in the Cup finals in 2002. He is also a minority owner of the team after buying stake in 2012 with four other investors as part of the Playmakers Management group.

Francis holds team records with 382 goals, 793 assists and 1,186 games played.

On March 24, it was reported that team president and general manager Rutherford would step away from some of his duties with the team. The 65-year-old had been the general manager of the organization for 20 years and is also part of the ownership group.

“Ronnie has paid his dues,” Rutherford said. “He is a good friend and the time is right now. Twenty years is a long time and I’ve been fortunate enough to have a lot of support.”

Rutherford will retain his roles as president and part owner and will represent the team in league functions.

"This means a lot because when we brought Ronnie back, we were struggling as a team. He gave us a lot of good years as a great player," Rutherford said. "After so long, we have become good friends. I am very proud of this day."

Brian Tatum, who has been with the Hurricanes for 16 years and recently served as the vice president of team operations, has been promoted to assistant general manager.  Mike Vellucci has been hired as assistant GM and director of hockey operations.

The Hurricanes missed the playoffs this year for the fifth consecutive season, tying them for the third longest drought in the NHL.

Current head coach Kirk Muller said on April 16 that he had not been told by management on his job status. He was on hand at the formal team announcement Monday.

Muller has a 80-80-27 career record in three seasons behind the Hurricanes bench and has yet to make the playoffs.

Francis said that he has not yet made a decision on the coaching staff but will address the situatin in the near future.

"There are no easy decisions," Francis said. "You analyze things the best you can and make the decisions that you think are best for the organization. Hopefully, if you are right, you can be successful."


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  • ssi Apr 29, 2014

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    Well, that's great! You've already completed step one of the five-step process. Only four more to go. Hang in there, and you'll be rid of that great annoyance to you. Again, if you stick with the program, results are guaranteed. :-)

    (You know I'm just picking. Some people like 'em, some don't. You obviously have every right to go or not go, read/watch/purchase, or not read/watch/purchase. Just friendly banter.)

  • JPack Apr 29, 2014

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    You guys are absolutely right about his character and personal demeanor. I've met him outside of and unrelated to the hockey business and what a friendly respectful human being. I just don't like his management style. That's all.

  • Super Hans Apr 29, 2014

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    We don't go.

    Neither does anyone else unless it's transplanted north easterners going to see their teams whup up on the Candy Canes.

  • JPack Apr 29, 2014

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    Your problem is, the more you respond to these hillbillies, the more you feed their need to make ignorant comments. Most trolls, if ignored long enough will slowly go away.

  • ssi Apr 29, 2014

    View quoted thread

    I just figured it out. I know exactly how to solve your's and Hans' issue with the Canes: don't go; don't watch; don't listen; don't read; don't purchase. Problem solved. Pretty simple, actually. However, the rest of us will continue to support our hometown team, win (preferably, of course), lose, or draw. We like having them here.

  • Janet Scott Apr 29, 2014
    user avatar

    Caniacman...well said. JR is a very good person. We had some great times back in 2006 and I am grateful to him for that as well.

  • oldandgrumpy Apr 29, 2014

    Poor decision. Considering how poorly the team has performed over the past five years the Hurricanes needed new blood, not a promotion of someone involved in past failures.

  • Itsmyopinion67 Apr 29, 2014

    Wait...we have a hockey team!?? Sweet!

  • Super Hans Apr 29, 2014

    No one cares about the Candy Canes in this area. Francis should move the team to Canada and take the dozen or so "Caniacs" with him.

  • caniacman Apr 29, 2014

    I do agree that a change is probably in order, but also want to thank JR for his years of service to this team and community. We may not have always agreed with every move he made but he did bring a Cup here! Also one thing can NOT be debated! JR handled this job with class and respect and treated others the way you would want to be treated. He should be praised for that!




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