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Ron Francis named new Carolina Hurricanes GM

Posted April 28

— 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."

36 Comments

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  • GunnyGoesArrrgh Apr 28, 12:41 p.m.

    Good move - maintains continuity and Francis should do a great job.

  • jscott13 Apr 28, 12:53 p.m.

    Now that it has happened...I'm a little sad. It's the end of an era, but a great move. Ron Francis is a class act.

  • Return of... Apr 28, 1:10 p.m.

    This is great news!

  • susanhoffman2 Apr 28, 1:11 p.m.

    Bring back Laviolette!

  • Obamacare returns again Apr 28, 1:11 p.m.

    Congrats Ron. Now can you send them back to Hartford please?

  • wlcat609 Apr 28, 1:35 p.m.

    Now that the Canes have a new, inexperienced general manage, don't expect miracles. He will need time to grow into the job and, yes, perhaps make a few mistakes along the way. I'd say things may be better in about five years as it will take time to weed out some of the current playing personnel. Hopefully he will be given complete control and not hampered by his upper management.

  • I am not who you think I am Apr 28, 2:06 p.m.

    Congrats Ron. Now can you send them back to Hartford please?

    — Posted by Obamacare returns again

    Yes, back to Hartford or Boise or Cheyenne or wherever just take this team and its lousy owner outta here

  • jdpridg Apr 28, 2:10 p.m.

    Congrats Ron. Now can you send them back to Hartford please?

    — Posted by Obamacare returns again

    Yes, back to Hartford or Boise or Cheyenne or wherever just take this team and its lousy owner... View More

    — Posted by I am not who you think I am

    Better yet, you two should pack up and go on a road trip yourselves. Maybe go together and invest in a camper to drive to nascar races. Good luck.

  • jdpridg Apr 28, 2:14 p.m.

    Unfortunately JR made sure he still has enough power to call the shots. Hopefully he will be man enough to turn over the reigns and let Francis make his own path. I don't think Francis will change the Canes world, but a new direction is desperately needed so I'm on board.

  • I am not who you think I am Apr 28, 2:17 p.m.

    Congrats Ron. Now can you send them back to Hartford please?

    — Posted by Obamacare returns again

    Yes, back to Hartford or Boise or Cheyenne or wherever just take this team and its lousy owner... View More

    — Posted by I am not who you think I am

    Better yet, you two should pack up and go on a road trip yourselves. Maybe go together and... View More

    — Posted by jdpridg

    use to go to races when they were at Rockingham and North Wilksboro then NASCAR got too full of themselves and left the old tracks behind. The sugarcanes have done the same thing they are to busy raising the prices(tickets,parking) they forgot to put a quality product on the ice. Good riddance to the sugarcanes

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