To say that things have gotten a little weird between the Carolina Hurricanes and legendary Hall of Famer Ron Francis might be the understatement of the century. If the team and its former general manager had a relationship status on Facebook it most definitely would be defined as, “It’s complicated.”
Shortly after the Hurricanes 2017-18 regular season wrapped up, Francis was relieved from his duties as team general manager, receiving a promotion from new owner Tom Dundon to the position of President of Hockey Operations. While technically the move is classified as a promotion, just about everyone in the hockey world has seen it for what it really is: a way for Dundon to phase out Francis without taking heat for firing one of the franchise’s living legends.
Well… the team’s motives for more or less been confirmed with their latest move. In addition to kicking Francis upstairs to his executive position and stripping him of any team personnel responsibilities, the Hurricanes have reportedly requested that Francis not report to the team’s offices for duty. He’s being told to stay at home.
This according to a report from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman in his latest 31 Thoughts column. Check it out:
The Hurricanes have asked Ron Francis to work from home. Business is brutal sometimes, but sad it ends this way between the organization and one of its greatest players.
Ouch… that hurts. Getting the “thanks, but no thanks” treatment from a team that you’ve poured your heart and soul into for over three decades? That’s rough and, frankly, that’s no way to treat such a highly respected player and executive. In fact, Francis is perhaps THE most respected player and executive in Hurricanes franchise history. He’s the team’s only Hall of Famer player and has been a major part of the franchise going back to their time as the Hartford Whalers. Like Friedman says, it’s sad to see the way things are ending between the organization and Francis.
Really though, we shouldn’t be surprised. Under Dundon, the Hurricanes have completely revamped the way they do business. Both Francis and former head coach Bill Peters are out, while Dundon has yet to name replacements. If league wide rumor reports are to be believed however, it appears as though another former Hurricanes legend, Rod Brind A’Mour will be named the team’s next head coach. Stay tuned, this upcoming offseason is sure to be an entertaining one in Raleigh, North Carolina.