Ron Francis named new Carolina Hurricanes GM
Posted April 28, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — 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."