Tod Leiweke has invited fans to celebrate tomorrow afternoon at 5pm as NHL Seattle prepares for a major milestone, the hiring of their first team staffer. The franchise is expected to name NHL Legend Ron Francis as their General Manager.
Francis is a legend in the NHL, ranked #5 all time in scoring and #2 all time in assists. To put some perspective on that the NBA’s fifth ranked scorer is Michael Jordan and the #2 in assists is Magic Johnson.
The Hockey News wrote a great article describing what it means to have landed such a high profile individual on an expansion team:
On one hand, Francis makes plenty of sense as a figurehead hiring. He’s one of the most respected hockey players ever. He was known for his class, winning three Lady Byng Trophies. He ranks second in NHL history in assists, fourth in games and fifth in points. He’s one of the best ever to do it, he brings brand-name glamor to the GM position, and he’s well-liked across the league. From a public-relations standpoint, Francis is a home-run hire.
“It’s a great choice for an expansion franchise,” said an NHL team executive. “It gives them instant credibility by adding a first-class guy that knows all sides of the game and quietly did a great job starting the turnaround in Carolina.”
If we’re talking about stature, team president Tod Leiweke couldn’t have done much better than Francis. If he wanted to announce to the league that Seattle is here to rumble with the big boys, luring a first-ballot Hall of Famer was his Michael Buffer moment.
As someone who is new to hockey this is my first chance to really dive into a franchise acquisition. I’ve spent the last day reading up on his history as a player and relied on the gang at @NHLtoSeattle to educate me on what he could bring to the table as a manager.
This is the very first time my new franchise has acquired an asset for me to judge. It’s the first time I really have a chance to think about what could be if this move works out.
What they delivered is one of the top 100 players in NHL History. The best NBA equivalent I can come up with for the Francis hire is Larry Bird. Bird, Like Francis is an all time great, Hall of Fame player with multiple championships and a productive, if not perfect front office career.
Larry Bird. Just think about that for a minute. These guys are doing it big.