ESPN News Services
Seattle’s new NHL franchise has its first general manager.
Hall of Famer Ron Francis was named the expansion team’s GM Thursday.
“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 will receive a multiyear contract from the team, a source told ESPN’s Emily Kaplan.
The expansion Seattle franchise is set to begin play in the 2021-22 season as the NHL’s 32nd team.
After longtime Detroit GM Ken Holland went to Edmonton, adviser Dave Tippett left Seattle Hockey Partners LLC to become the Oilers’ coach, and Vegas‘ Kelly McCrimmon and Columbus‘ Bill Zito received promotions, there was a limited pool of experienced NHL executives to choose from for the Seattle job.
Francis, though, fits the bill.
The 56-year-old has been in hockey operations since shortly after the end of his Hall of Fame playing career. All of that time has come with the Carolina Hurricanes, including four seasons as GM.
Carolina didn’t make the playoffs with Francis in charge of decision-making, though his moves put the foundation in place for the team that reached the Eastern Conference finals this past season.
As a player, Francis spent 23 seasons in the NHL, with stints in Hartford, Pittsburgh, Carolina and Toronto. A two-time Stanley Cup champion, the center had 549 goals and 1,249 assists in 1,731 games.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.