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Ron Francis Speaker Profile

Category: Hall of Famers, Hockey

Highlights: Hall of Fame center Ron Francis spent 23 seasons playing in the NHL from 1981-2004 primarily for the Hartford Whalers, Carolina Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins, with whom he won two Stanley Cups.

Travels From: Washington

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Ron Francis played center in the NHL for 23 seasons from 1981-2004 with the Hartford Whalers (1981-1991), Pittsburgh Penguins (1991-1998), Carolina Hurricanes (1998-2004) and Toronto Maple Leafs (2003-2004). At the time of his retirement, Francis trailed only Wayne Gretzky in league history in total assists with 1,249. He also ranked third with 1,731 games played and fifth with 1,798 points. In 2007, he became a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. In 2017, in recognition of the NHL’s 100th anniversary, Francis was named one of the 100 Greatest Players of all-time. He had his #10 jersey retired by the Hurricanes in 2005 and is a member of the Penguins Ring of Honor.

Francis won two Stanley Cups in back-to-back years with the Penguins in 1991 and 1992. He was four times named an NHL All-Star and three times was awarded the Lady Byng Trophy honoring his sportsmanship and on-ice play. Similarly, he won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in 2002, recognizing his leadership and community involvement. In 1995, Francis was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy for his defensive prowess. The next season, in 1996, Francis set career-highs in points (119) and assists (92) while leading the NHL for the second straight year in the latter category.

Born on March 1, 1963 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada, Francis was the fourth overall selection by Hartford in the 1st round of the 1981 NHL Draft. After his playing days, he served as general manager and later president of hockey operations for the Hurricanes. In 2019, he was hired as general manager of the expansion team in Seattle.

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