By Peter Koutroumpis
RALEIGH, N.C. – A swirling storm finally hit on Wednesday night as Carolina Hurricanes majority owner Tom Dundon announced that Ron Francis would assume a new role as president of hockey operations.
Serving in his former role as executive vice president and general manager over the past four years, of the 12 he’s served the club in a management role, Francis’ most notable achievement was to reconstruct the team’s player development foundation from the NHL club down through to its AHL affiliate in Charlotte.
On a day that tornado preparedness drills took place in school systems statewide, a storm brewed around the administrative offices in PNC Arena.
Social media accounts indicated fans were understandably livid in watching an embarrassing 6-2 road loss the Hurricanes suffered in Minnesota the night before.
On top of that, an afternoon email sent to season ticket holders infuriated many as prices and perks were not received favorably and resulted in some stating serious consideration of not renewing for the 2018-2019 season.
So, while many Triangle-area sports fans and media were focused on watching ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament play from Brooklyn, N.Y., a time when many were sleeping on hockey, the Dundon tornado struck.
“Since I took control of the team, I’ve had a good chance to be around and assess the operations,” Dundon said.
“There are a lot of good people working in the organization, but I feel that a change in direction is needed when it comes to hockey personnel decisions.
“Ron is a smart and talented hockey man. I am glad that he will continue to be a part of the team, serving in this new role.”
With that statement, Francis was relieved of the responsibility to further fashion and shape the rebuild – the Redvolution – he’s forged for the past four seasons.
Now, he’ll have to watch and work towards keeping the hockey side of things in order – except player personnel decisions – more-or-less in an ex-officio manner, as Dundon hand-picks a general manager who will report to him directly.
It all happened quickly, a touchdown that hit an open field and wiped out one person’s house, and left a resounding impact on the community that now awaits the next one(s) to hit.
Peter Koutroumpis: 401-323-8960, @pksport