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What’s in a number: Francis gets his identity back

by Staff Writer / Carolina Hurricanes
Carolina Hurricanes centers Ron Francis and Rod Brind’Amour wore their lucky numbers on their backs for about decade apiece. When they each came to the Carolina Hurricanes, they were forced to make a change. Now, they will both get their numbers back.

Ron Francis will return to the number 10 that he wore from 1982-1998 as a member of the Hartford Whalers and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Rod Brind’Amour will return to the number 17 he wore from 1991-2000 as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Francis made the switch to number 21 when he joined the Hurricanes as a free agent in the summer of 1998. Francis was unable to return to his trademark number 10, which he wore as a member of the Hurricanes organization for nearly ten years, because the number was being occupied by former teammate Gary Roberts. But now the franchise’s all-time leader in games played, points, goals, assists, hat tricks, game-winning goals and power-play goals can return to the number he collected most of those records wearing.

“It’s basically always been my number," Francis said. "Pretty much most of my career that’s been the number that I’ve worn – even through my junior years and minor hockey. When I came here, Gary was wearing it. Gary being an experienced, veteran player with a lot of time in the league and that also being his number, it wasn’t available. Since he’s no longer with us it was available and I thought it made sense and I talked to Gary about it. He said he’d be honored if I wore it, so there weren’t any issues there.”

Francis said he picked number 21 two years ago when he arrived in North Carolina on the advice of his kids, and even then the number 10 was involved in the decision.

“They said it was 10 twice, plus one for good luck," Francis said. "That’s how we came about choosing 21. I’m not one who goes crazy whether I have or don’t have a number, but it’s the number I’ve worn for most of my career. It’s funny, even the last couple years watching video, I see 21 on the screen and I forget that’s myself sometimes, I keep looking for 10. So hopefully I can find myself a little easier now on video.”

Brind’Amour wore number 17 in Philadelphia for nearly a decade before he was traded to the Hurricanes along with Jean-Marc Pelletier and a second-round pick in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft for Keith Primeau and a fifth-round pick in the 2000 draft. When Brind’Amour arrived in Carolina, number 17 was occupied by Hurricanes forward Jeff Daniels. This summer, Daniels announced he would switch to number 11, allowing Brind’Amour to return to his trademark 17.

For Francis and Brind’Amour, it’s almost like they are getting their identities back.

Said Francis: “It’s the number I’ve always been associated with, and I’m happy to have it back. I wish Gary was still here and I wouldn’t have to change, but since he isn’t, I’ve decided to go back and wear 10.”

Fans can see Francis and Brind’Amour in their old/new numbers when the Carolina Hurricanes open on-ice training camp on September 8, 2000, at the Entertainment and Sports Arena in two sessions: from 10-11:30 a.m. and 12:30-2 p.m. Practices will be at those same times on September 9-10 and September 12. All Hurricanes preseason practices are open to the public at no cost. The Hurricanes will also hold an intra-squad scrimmage on September 13 from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. The team scrimmage will also be open to the public at no cost.

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