LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 25: Carolina Hurricanes President and General Manager Jim Rutherford was given a four-year contract extension by the team. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The man who hands out the contracts for the Carolina Hurricanes has a new one of his own. Jim Rutherford, the only general manager in Hurricanes history, received Thursday a four-year contract extension from the team that will keep him running the franchise as the team's GM and president through 2015-16, the team announced.
Rutherford, a two-time winner of The Hockey News' Executive of the Year award, joined the franchise in 1994 — only New Jersey's Lou Lamoriello has been with his team longer — back when the team was still the Hartford Whalers, leading the transition to Raleigh while guiding the team to one championship, another trip to the Stanley Cup Finals, and yet another trip to the Eastern Conference Finals.He also played a huge part in bringing both the NHL Entry Draft and last season's NHL All-Star Game to North Carolina.
The release from the Hurricanes is after the jump.
‘CANES SIGN JIM RUTHERFORD TO CONTRACT EXTENSION
Rutherford is the second-longest-tenured general manager in the NHL
RALEIGH, NC – Peter Karmanos, Chief Executive Officer, Owner and Governor of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has re-signed President and General Manager Jim Rutherford to a four-year contract extension. The new contract runs through the 2015-16 season.
"Jim is one of the premiere general managers in all of sports," said Karmanos. "In the 14 years since the Hurricanes arrived in North Carolina, his leadership has allowed our franchise to host two Stanley Cup Finals, the NHL All-Star Game and the NHL Draft, bringing tremendously positive attention to the team and the area. This contract will take him through his 30th year with our hockey organization, and I am proud to have been associated with Jim for that long."
Rutherford, 62, is in his 18th year as general manager in 2011-12, making him the longest-tenured general manager in franchise history and the second-longest tenured general manager currently serving in the NHL. Under Rutherford, the Hurricanes have earned a 482-428-136-20 regular-season record since arriving in North Carolina prior to the 1997-98 season, including a pair of trips to the Stanley Cup Final and the first Stanley Cup Championship in franchise history in 2006. Rutherford’s management efforts were recognized in 2002 and 2006, when The Hockey News named him "Executive of the Year," and in 2006 when he was voted by his NHL management peers as the Sporting News’ "Executive of the Year." In 2006, he was also named the Triangle’s "Businessperson of the Year" by the Triangle Business Journal.
The Hurricanes captured their first Eastern Conference championship in 2002, when they defeated Toronto in the Eastern Conference Finals, and again won the Prince of Wales Trophy in 2006 when they defeated Buffalo in seven games. Rutherford brought the first major professional sports championship to North Carolina when the Hurricanes defeated Edmonton 3-1 in the deciding seventh game of the 2006 Stanley Cup Final at the RBC Center. The Hurricanes have won the Southeast Division title three times, advanced to the conference finals three of the last nine seasons and established new franchise records for wins and points in a season in 2005-06.
In addition to their on-ice success, the Hurricanes also have been recognized for their impact and success in North Carolina. In 2009, the Hurricanes were recognized as the top hockey franchise and second-ranked franchise in all of sports by ESPN in the "Ultimate Standings," a collection of data and survey results that takes into account a team’s on-ice or on-field success as well as its community impact and overall fan experience. An important part of that impact on the Triangle has been the major events that the franchise has attracted to the area. Rutherford spearheaded the efforts to bring the 2004 NHL Entry Draft and the 2011 NHL All-Star Game to the RBC Center, both of which were deemed as tremendous successes in both the local and international media.
A veteran of 13 NHL season as a goaltender with Detroit, Toronto, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh, Rutherford began his management career as director of hockey operations for Compuware Sports Corporation in 1983, making 2011-12 his 27th season with the Compuware hockey family. Rutherford, who began his playing career in 1969, is one of the few people to have been involved in the sport professionally in six consecutive decades.