Vice President of Hockey Operations
Ron Francis is in his eighth season in management for the Carolina Hurricanes, after being promoted to vice president of hockey operations in June 2012. As vice president of hockey operations, Francis works directly with General Manager Jim Rutherford on all hockey-related matters. In addition to his hockey operations duties, Francis also serves as one of the teams’ alternate governors.
Following a career in which he established himself as the greatest player in Hurricanes franchise history, Francis re-joined the organization in November 2006 as the team’s director of player development. He was promoted to assistant general manager on Oct. 4, 2007, but returned to the team’s locker room on Dec. 3, 2008, when he joined new Head Coach Paul Maurice behind the bench as associate head coach. While serving as a coach, Francis maintained a voice in the Hurricanes’ front office decision-making, serving as the team’s director of player personnel. He returned to the front office full-time in June 2011, accepting the role of director of hockey operations.
Francis announced his retirement on Sept. 14, 2005, following a 23-year NHL career with Hartford, Pittsburgh, Carolina and Toronto. In 1,731 NHL regularseason games, Francis scored 549 goals and earned 1,249 assists (1,798 points), to rank him fourth all-time on the league’s points list behind Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and Gordie Howe. Francis’ 1,249 assists rank second only to Gretzky (1,963), and he ranks third on the games-played list behind Howe (1,767) and Messier (1,756).
The Hartford Whalers drafted Francis in the first round, fourth overall, in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft. Francis played with the Whalers for 10 seasons before joining Pittsburgh at the trading deadline of the 1990-91 season. He spent seven full seasons with the Penguins before rejoining the organization that drafted him, when the relocated Carolina Hurricanes signed him as a free agent on July 13, 1998. In 16 seasons with the Hartford/Carolina franchise, Francis played in 1,186 games, scoring 382 goals and earning 793 assists for 1,175 points -- all of which are franchise records. The Hurricanes officially retired Francis’ No. 10 jersey to the arena’s rafters on Jan. 28, 2006, and on Nov. 12, 2007, Francis was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
During his playing career, Francis played in four NHL All-Star games, and he won the Lady Byng Trophy (sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct) three times (1995, 1998, 2002), the Frank J. Selke Trophy (best defensive forward) once (1995) and the King Clancy Memorial Trophy (leadership/humanitarian/community work) once (2002). He also won the Alka-Seltzer Plus Award in 1995, when he led the NHL in plus/minus, and was a key member of the Penguins’ Stanley Cup-winning teams in 1991 and 1992. The impact Francis had for the sport of hockey in North Carolina was further recognized on May 2, 2013, when he became the first hockey player inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.
Ron and his wife, Mary Lou, have a daughter, Kaitlyn, and two sons, Michael and Connor. They reside in Raleigh.