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Draft Day to GM: Francis' Career Timeline

by Michael Smith / Carolina Hurricanes
Michael Smith

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June 10, 1981: Francis is drafted fourth overall by the Hartford Whalers

March 4, 1991: Francis is traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he would win the Stanley Cup in consecutive years (1991-92)

“I don’t know if you’re ever prepared for a trade,” he said. “It hurts in the sense that I watched my dad work at the steel mill in town for 41 years. Every day he went to work and was loyal to what he did. These are the values that my parents instilled in me: you’re employed by someone, you work hard for them and give them everything you got.

“From a hockey standpoint, I got to go play on a team that was extremely talented and accomplished what every kid wants to do, and that’s win the Stanley Cup. In the end, it worked out pretty good.”

Ron Francis

July 13, 1998: Francis, a free agent, signs with the Hurricanes

“It just made a lot of sense to me,” he said. “Certainly money had something to do with it, but their offer was competitive, and when you factor in everything else that went along with the offer, to me, this was the place to go.”

November 5, 1999: Francis becomes the sixth player in NHL history to reach 1,500 points

March 14, 2001: Francis earns assist against Atlanta to become the first player to tally 1,000 points with the franchise

January 2, 2002: Francis, playing in 1000th game with the franchise, scores his 500th career NHL goal beating Bryon Dafoe of the Boston Bruins

January 26, 2002: Francis assists on Jeff O'Neill's goal at Philadelphia to pass Ray Bourque for 2nd on the NHL's all-time assists list

“Numbers are great, but you don’t accomplish those numbers without getting to play with a lot of great players both on the ice and in meeting a lot of great people through this game. I think I’ve been blessed in both regards. As a guy who thought pass first, shot second, I got to play with a lot of great goal-scorers. I made a lot of great friends over the years, and played with a lot of great teammates. Hopefully they feel good about what my numbers say because they all contributed to them in their own special way.”

June 20, 2002: Francis wins the Lady Byng trophy and King Clancy Trophy at the 2002 NHL Awards in Toronto

January 18, 2003: Francis plays in his 1,616th NHL game, a 5-2 loss at New Jersey, moving past Larry Murphy (1,615) and into sole possession of third place on the NHL's all-time games played list

“You grow up, and you have dreams of what you want to accomplish. For a lot of us in Canada, your dream is to play in the National Hockey League,” he said. “That’s really what mine was – I wanted to play in the National Hockey League. And I was hoping at some point I’d be fortunate enough to win a Stanley Cup. Those are the goals you set. All the accolades that come later, you don’t dream about, you don’t hope about, it just happens.”

September 14, 2005: Francis retires at age 42

“I basically just took some time to myself and got away from it. I always said when I retired, I wanted to have some time to relax,” he said. “It was a chance for me to get away, relax and unwind a little bit.”

January 28, 2006: Francis’ No. 10 is retired in a pregame ceremony

“I thought the entire night was top-notch. There wasn’t a stone they left unturned from how they treated not only me and my family but friends that came to town,” he said. “I thought it was neat while we were skating around the ice – you can’t hear because people are clapping and stuff – I look back at my boys, and my one son looks up and says, ‘Dad, this is so awesome!’ and gave me the fist-bump.

“It was a great night that my entire family was very appreciative of and we’ll never forget.”

November 3, 2006: Francis joins the Canes front office as the director of player development

“All of a sudden, you’re not putting on the uniform or the skates. You’re putting on a suit and coming to the office and sitting behind a desk. I came in with an open mind and a willingness to learn. I was fortunate that Jim Rutherford put me in a lot of different situations to learn a lot of different facets of the organization.”

October 4, 2007: Francis is named assistant general manager and retains his role of director of player development

November 12, 2007: Francis is inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame alongside Mark Messier, Al MacInnis and Scott Stevens

“To get a call from the Hall, you think of the thousands and thousands of players that have played this game and how few are in the Hockey Hall of Fame. It’s just an incredible honor."

December 3, 2008: Francis is named associate head coach and director of player personnel

“You understand firsthand what coaches go through on a daily basis – all the issues they deal with, the prep work they’re doing, and you gain a respect for how tough their job is,” he said. “It’s a little easier to deal with them when you’ve had that experience yourself.”

June 7, 2011: Francis is named director of hockey operations

June 5, 2012: Francis is named vice president of hockey operations

“I like the assignment of going out, trying to find talent, analyzing it and trying to fit the pieces together."

September 12, 2012: Francis is announced, among others, as a minority investor in the Carolina Hurricanes franchise

“This is a guy (Karmanos) who gave me an opportunity to come down here and play. He’s treated me extremely well the whole time I’ve been down here,” he said. “And I just felt it was a chance for me to give a little back to him, this team and this market which has been great to me and my family. That was the easy part.

“I’m a firm believer that the city of Raleigh is only going to continue to get bigger and better. People are more and more finding about what a great place it is to live and how wonderful the people are here. Our hope is that through hard work, we can put a product on the ice that people want to see, we can have success and we can do it over a prolonged period of time.”

May 2, 2013: Francis is inducted into the NC Sports Hall of Fame, becoming the first hockey player represented in the museum

“To be honored and have the opportunity to step in is tremendous, and I know I won’t be the last,” he said. “It’s great to be the first part of the team heading into the hall.”

April 28, 2014: Francis is named general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes

“I want to win the Stanley Cup again. This is just a different way of getting there. I don’t get to put my skates, stick and gloves on, bang people around and do things on the ice, but hopefully through things I do off the ice, we can try to get that team as successful as possible on the ice.”

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