The Carolina Hurricanes have relieved general manager Ron Francis of his duties, moving him to another role within the organization.
Francis will remain as president of hockey operations, a new role, but the team will conduct a search for his replacement as general manager. The person hired in that role will report directly to owner Tom Dundon, a change from the previous hierarchy that had Francis reporting to team president Don Waddell.
Francis, the franchise’s all-time record holder in goals, assists, points, power play goals and game-winning goals, was promoted to general manager on April 28, 2014, replacing his former boss, now-Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford. Francis had served since 2011 as the Canes’ director of hockey operations, and had served in various roles including associate head coach, assistant general manager and director of player personnel since returning to the franchise following his 2005 retirement from the NHL.
In his nearly four full seasons as Hurricanes GM, Francis did not complete a player-for-player trade that involved NHL players on both sides of the deal. As recently as last week, he told the media that he believed that his team was on the right trajectory.
The Hurricanes had a record of 130-130-53 under Francis, including a 29-27-11 mark this season. Francis only made one coaching hire in his time as GM, Bill Peters, who took the role just under two months after Francis was hired.
Reaction from national reporters tweeting about the shakeup seems to confirm whispers from within the building that Francis and Dundon were not necessarily on the same page. Dundon spoke repeatedly and at length about his admiration for Peters’ job as coach, but whenver the topic of Francis came up, while Dundon offered support for the job Francis has done it always seemed to be less than a full-throated endorsement.
The titles are a bit confusing, but I would not call this a promotion for Francis. New GM will report to the owner...there were rumblings Francis/Dundon did not see eye-to-eye— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) March 8, 2018
Dundon is very involved in the day to day by all accounts. The new GM will need to know this going in https://t.co/C1iSYNb3Fu— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) March 8, 2018
With Francis out, there's the potential for a LOT of turnover at GM around the league this summer. Maybe advantageous for Carolina to strike early.— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) March 8, 2018
Really shouldn't be surprised that Ron Francis has been shuffled aside in Raleigh. From Day One, new owner Tom Dundon wanted to do things his way. Francis deserves a ton of credit for rebuilding the depth of the'Canes.— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) March 8, 2018
The inside story of the 'Canes change is that the owner wants to deal directly with the coaches and the players...and have a figure head GM. Dundon wants to do it like Mark Cuban runs the NBA Mavericks.— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) March 8, 2018
More to follow.
FRANCIS NAMED PRESIDENT OF HOCKEY OPERATIONS
Team to conduct search for new general manager
Tom Dundon, Owner and Governor of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that Ron Francis will transition into a new role with the team as president of hockey operations. The Hurricanes will conduct a full search for a new general manager, who will report directly to Dundon.
”Since I took control of the team, I’ve had a good chance to be around and assess the operations,” said Dundon. “There are a lot of good people working in the organization, but I feel that a change in direction is needed when it comes to hockey personnel decisions.
Ron is a smart and talented hockey man. I am glad that he will continue to be a part of the team, serving in this new role.”
Francis, 55, is in his 12th season in management with the Hurricanes and has served as executive vice president and general manager for four years. Prior to his appointment as general manager, the Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., native served the team’s vice president of hockey operations. He has also performed duties as the Hurricanes’ director of player development, assistant general manager and assistant coach since retiring as a player on Sept. 14, 2005.