Hockey Hall of Famer Ron Francis is the first general manger of Seattle’s soon-to-be-named NHL team.
NHL Seattle announced Monday that Francis would take the take the reins immediately, overseeing all operations, including player personnel and development, coaching staff, scouting, and minor league operations.
Francis is NHL Seattle’s most significant hire yet.
A fourth overall draft pick in 1981, Francis began his career with the Hartford Whalers, where he spent a decade. Francis also played for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Carolina Hurricanes before turning to coaching and management. Over his career Francis recorded 549 goals and 1,249 assists.
He spent 12 years with the Hurricanes as an associate head coach, assistant general manager, and general manager before working in management in Canada.
Francis won two Stanley Cups with the Penguins in 1991 and 1992, and he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007.
NHL Seattle CEO Tod Leiweke called hiring Francis “a dream come true.”
“He is truly hockey royalty and is the perfect fit for the team we are building,” Leiweke said in a statement. “He has a proven track record in hockey management, a dedication to the community and an eagerness to innovate which fits our vision.”
Seattle’s NHL franchise is expected to begin play at a new arena at Seattle Center in 2021.
The group plans to break ground on a training facility at Northgate in early 2020.