RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -Jim Rutherford helped bring the Carolina Hurricanes to Tobacco Road and built them into Stanley Cup champions.
Now, after signing a contract Tuesday that will keep him as the team's general manager for five more years, he wants to continue growing hockey in this hotbed of college basketball.
"We've invested a lot in hockey together, but especially in North Carolina," Rutherford said of his relationship with team owner Peter Karmanos Jr. "And when you're looking at something growing, it doesn't just grow in the same direction all the time.
"It grows, and then it wilts a little bit, (then) it grows a little more. But we're at the point where the growth of hockey and how it's been established in North Carolina, I and we have invested so much in it, and I want to continue to do that."
Rutherford recently completed his 13th season as the franchise's general manager and is the only person to hold that job since the team moved from Hartford, Conn., in 1997. Among current GMs, only New Jersey's Lou Lamoriello has a longer tenure with his team.
"I think continuity is one of the most important things in all of sports, and one of the most ignored things in most sports," Karmanos said. "We want to strive for continuity above all things. We don't want to substitute mediocrity for continuity, but in order to get to the levels that we believe this team is at, you need that continuity first."
Terms of the new deal were not available.
Rutherford is the longest-tenured general manager in franchise history, having been hired June 28, 1994. Under him the Hurricanes have made two appearances in the Cup finals, winning it for the first time in 2006.
Carolina, which finished last in the Southeast Division in 1997-98, its first season since the move, has won the division three times.
"It feels good to watch where this franchise was from Day 1 ... to where we are today, and to where it will be five years from now," Rutherford said. "That's been a great experience, and it's what we believed in from the start, and we're almost to where we need to be."