NHL Seattle has officially named Ron Francis the franchise’s first general manager.
“After seven months of due diligence, research, conversations, interviews and evaluation, we are thrilled to announce Ron as our GM,” NHL Seattle CEO Tod Leiweke said in a statement.
Francis brings to Seattle a wealth of NHL experience, both as a player and as a member of the front office. As a player, Francis was a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1990s and a four-time All-Star over the course of his 23-year career that saw him finish fifth on the NHL’s all-time scoring list behind Wayne Gretzky, Jaromir Jagr, Mark Messier and Gordie Howe. The Hall of Famer (he was inducted in 2007) quickly made the jump from the ice to the front office upon his retirement, spending 12 seasons in various leadership and management positions with the Carolina Hurricanes.
As a general manager, Francis spent almost four seasons steering the Hurricanes through an extensive rebuild, collecting assets and building up the club’s deep prospect pool before being demoted in March 2018 and terminated soon after. Though the Hurricanes missed the post-season in all four of Francis’s seasons at the helm, he is still credited for acquiring a great number of the young players that took the team on a thrilling run all the way to the Eastern Conference Final this past spring.
Now, he has a chance to construct an entire roster, prospect system, and coaching staff from scratch in Seattle in time for its inaugural season in 2021-22.
“I am excited to join NHL Seattle as its first general manager and to work in partnership with Tod, David Bonderman, our ownership group and the NHL Seattle team to continue to build a world-class organization and hockey operation,” Francis said in Seattle’s press release. “12 seasons working in player development, coaching, scouting, and management have led me to this moment and this role. I’m excited to bring that experience to Seattle as we build something truly special and historic.”