Seattle's NHL expansion team officially names Ron Francis as general manager
Francis previously served as GM of the Hurricanes for four seasons
Seattle's NHL team may not have a name, roster or uniforms yet, but they do have a man in charge. On Thursday afternoon, the expansion team's ownership group named Hall of Famer Ron Francis as the team's general manager.
The announcement was made at a press conference in Seattle, with team owner Tod Leiweke making the introduction.
Francis, 56, played 23 years in the NHL with the Hartford Whalers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Carolina Hurricanes and Toronto Maple Leafs. In those 23 seasons, he racked up 549 goals and 1,249 assists in 1,731 games. He won two Stanley Cups in Pittsburgh as part of the Penguins' back-to-back titles in 1991 and 1992.
Shortly after he retired, Francis joined the Hurricanes' hockey operations department and was named as the team's general manager in 2014, replacing Jim Rutherford. Francis spent four years in that role. The Canes never made the playoffs under his direction, but many of his moves laid the foundation for a Carolina team that made the Eastern Conference Final this season.
The Seattle ownership group is hoping he'll be able to establish a similar foundation with their club. He'll have some tough expansion shoes to fill following George McPhee's work with the Vegas Golden Knights a few years ago. The Knights reached the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season.
Seattle is slated to join the NHL landscape as the league's 32nd team starting with the 2021-22 season.
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