SEATTLE - Seattle Hockey Partners LLC ("NHL Seattle") today announce Ron Francis as the team's General Manager, effective immediately.
A two-time Stanley Cup winner, Francis will oversee all of the club's hockey operations. This includes player personnel, coaching staff, amateur and pro scouting, player development, analytics, sports science and AHL minor league operations. He will report to NHL Seattle CEO, Tod Leiweke.
Drafted fourth overall in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft, Francis is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. He scored 549 goals and earned 1,249 assists (1,798 points) as a player, ranking fifth all-time on the league's scoring list behind Wayne Gretzky, Jaromir Jagr, Mark Messier and Gordie Howe. The Ontario, Canada native previously spent 12 seasons in leadership and management positions with the Carolina Hurricanes, including four as General Manager.
"Announcing Ron Francis as our team's first general manager is a dream come true," said Leiweke. "He is truly hockey royalty and is the perfect fit for the team we are building. He has a proven track record in hockey management, a dedication to the community and an eagerness to innovate which fits our vision. In our search, we looked for someone who is smart, experienced, well-prepared and progressive. I am confident that he will maintain our commitment to excellence and ultimately guide us to a Stanley Cup."
"I am excited to join NHL Seattle as its first general manager and to work in partnership with Tod, David Bonderman, our ownership group and the NHL Seattle team to continue to build a world-class organization and hockey operation," said Francis. "12 seasons working in player development, coaching, scouting, and management have led me to this moment and this role. I'm excited to bring that experience to Seattle as we build something truly special and historic."
The team will play at the New Arena at Seattle Center, starting its inaugural season in 2021. Its hockey operations and practice facility will reside at a new three rink facility in Northgate, which is set to break ground in early 2020.
"The fans in Seattle are ready for hockey. We have more than 32,000 season ticket deposit holders and an additional 25,000 on our waiting list," added Leiweke. "This is our first big hockey appointment. We are thrilled to have made this hire more than two years from dropping the puck."