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Francis elevated to Hurricanes GM

<p>The Carolina Hurricanes on Monday announced the promotion of franchise icon Ron Francis to executive vice president and general manager.</p>

Raleigh, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - The Carolina Hurricanes on Monday announced the promotion of franchise icon Ron Francis to executive vice president and general manager.

Francis, 51, had served as director of hockey operations and assistant GM since June 2011, and has also served the organization as a minority owner since September 2012. He assumes the role from Jim Rutherford, who had guided the club in that capacity since 1994, when it was still located in Hartford.

"Based on Jim's decision to step down as GM, now is a good time to go in a new direction," said Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos. "Ron has dedicated himself to learning all aspects of running a hockey team in the past eight years, working in player development, on the coaching staff and in hockey operations. He has proven that he has the work ethic and passion to get the Hurricanes back into the Stanley Cup Playoffs."

Rutherford will stay on as team president, but in an advisory role.

"I am happy that Jim will retain a role with our team, and I thank him for his 20 years as our general manager," Karmanos added. "He leaves quite a legacy with our organization, bringing the team three divisional championships, two conference titles and the Stanley Cup."

Carolina finished seventh in the Metropolitan Division and 13th in the Eastern Conference with a 36-35-11 record, missing out on the postseason for the fifth straight season and seventh in eight since winning the Stanley Cup in 2006.

Francis ended his 23-year playing career as the Carolina franchise's all- time leader in nearly every offensive category, including goals (382), assists (793), points (1,185) and power-play goals (132). The Ontario native appeared in 1,731 regular-season games (third all-time), scored 549 goals, earned 1,249 assists and had a total of 1,798 points (fourth all-time) with Hartford/Carolina, Pittsburgh and Toronto.

He also won a pair of Stanley Cups as a member of the 1991 and 1992 Penguins.

In addition, Carolina announced that Brian Tatum was named assistant general manager, while Mike Vellucci was tabbed as assistant GM and director of hockey operations.

Tatum had served as vice president of team operations since 2012, after working as director of team operations for the previous five seasons. He will enter his 17th season with the franchise next year.

Vellucci, 47, joins the Hurricanes after 14 seasons with the Ontario Hockey League's Plymouth Whalers, serving as head coach and GM for the majority of that time.

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