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Ron Francis, Four Others Become Minority Owners Of Carolina Hurricanes

Vice president of hockey operations Ron Francis is one of five new minority owners announced Wednesday by Hurricanes CEO Peter Karmanos Jr. (Photo by <a href="">Jamie Kellner</a>)
Vice president of hockey operations Ron Francis is one of five new minority owners announced Wednesday by Hurricanes CEO Peter Karmanos Jr. (Photo by Jamie Kellner)

The Carolina Hurricanes announced Wednesday that five locally based investors, including Hall of Famer and current vice president of hockey operations Ron Francis, have become ownership partners in the franchise. They join 10 other investors who became minority owners back in November when Hurricanes CEO Peter Karmanos Jr. delivered on his promise to provide further stability to the franchise by adding partners.

Francis is the marquee name in the group. The former Hurricanes and Whalers center has long been associated with the franchise, playing more 1,200 regular season and playoff games in both Hartford and Carolina. After he retired, he joined the front office, spending time as an executive and assistant coach before being promoted to his current position.

Among the other four investors are Eliza Kraft Olander and Brian McHenry of GreengardenDRC, LLC and Ron de Lange. The names of the other two investors, who wished to remain private, were not released.

The press release from the Hurricanes is after the jump.


Five additional investor groups join Hurricanes Holdings in ownership of NHL franchise

RALEIGH, NC – Peter Karmanos Jr., Chief Executive Officer, Owner and Governor of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that five additional investor groups have joined Hurricanes Holdings, LLC in the ownership of the team. All five new investors are based locally in North Carolina.

"It is very encouraging that these locally-based investors feel so strongly about our franchise and its future," said Karmanos. "We are proud to have this group of prominent North Carolinians involved with our team."

Three of the five new investment partners are: Playmakers Management, LLC (Ron Francis), GreengardenDRC, LLC (Eliza Kraft Olander and Brian McHenry) and Ron de Lange. The remaining two investment partners have chosen to keep their partnerships private.

Following a Hall of Fame hockey career, Ron Francis joined the Hurricanes front office in 2006, where he currently serves as Vice President of Hockey Operations, and 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. The Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., native retired from his on-ice career on Sept. 14, 2005, following a career in which he established himself as the greatest player in franchise history. Francis scored 549 goals and earned 1,249 assists (1,798) over 23 NHL seasons with Hartford, Pittsburgh, Carolina and Toronto, and ranks fourth in NHL history in points, behind only Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and Gordie Howe. He played in four NHL All-Star games, won the Lady Byng Trophy three times (1995, 1998, 2002), the Selke Trophy once (1995) and the King Clancy Trophy once (2002). Francis won the Stanley Cup twice with Pittsburgh (1991, 1992) and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Nov. 12, 2007. He and his wife, Mary Lou, have a daughter, Kaitlyn, and two sons, Michael and Connor, and reside in Raleigh.

Eliza Kraft Olander is retired from the business world and focuses on community development and philanthropy. Brian McHenry is President of McHenry Software. Together they are involved in many national and local charitable organizations, including the Frankie Lemmon School, Triangle Wine Experience, YMCA, SPCA, Band Together and Children's Flight of Hope. They have two children, Michael Olander, Jr., who lives in Raleigh and owns O2 Fitness Clubs in the Triangle and eastern North Carolina, and Amanda McHenry Keesee, a U.S. Naval officer who recently moved back to North Carolina with her husband, Cody Keesee, who is also a Naval officer.

Ron de Lange is President and CEO of Tekelec, an innovator of mobile internet solutions headquartered in Morrisville, NC, and serves as a member of Tekelec's board of directors. He recently served for several years as a board member of the Morrisville Chamber of Commerce, and has also served as a board member of the Alliance for Telecommunications Solutions (ATIS) and on the DePaul University School of Computer Science, Telecommunications and Information Systems (CTI) Leadership Council.