Hurricanes’ Ron Francis opens NC sports hall to hockey

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He was the Carolina Hurricanes’ first big free-agent signing after the team moved to North Carolina in 1997, turning some heads in the NHL and giving the franchise added credibility in a new market. As team captain, he helped the Canes reach the Stanley Cup finals for the first time in 2002. After his playing career ended, Francis joined the Canes’ management team, making Raleigh home for his wife Mary Lou and their three children. He continued to help the sport grow and find its niche. He’s an investor in the team. “One reason I signed here in 1998 that was intriguing to me was the chance to sell our sport in a new area,” Francis said. “I said at the time I signed I firmly believe in our sport, I firmly believe it’s something people will like. To have me go into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame as the first member of hockey and the first member of the Carolina Hurricanes with such a prestigious group, it’s a great feeling to know that our sport has come a long way.” Francis is one of 11 inductees this year, a large class. The others are: former North Carolina basketball coach Bill Guthridge and UNC football star Kelvin Bryant; baseball’s Tommy Helms, softball star Wade Garrett; tennis champion Mildred Southern; and longtime high school football coach Marion Kirby and football standout Rich McGeorge. Marty Sheets, who won hundreds of Special Olympics medals, is in the class of 2013. Being honored posthumously are Hugh Morton, the Grandfather Mountain owner and sports photographer, and journalist Bob Quincy of Charlotte. source:

Francis Becomes First Hockey Player Enshrined in NC Sports Hall of Fame

Likely soon to join Francis and the 299 others in the Hall of Fame will be Rod Brind’Amour and Jim Rutherford, who have already been nominated and considered as inductees. “To be honored and have the opportunity to step in is tremendous, and I know I won’t be the last,” Francis said. “It’s great to be the first part of the team heading into the hall.” As Francis paved the way for hockey in North Carolina, he has so paved the way for the sport in the Hall of Fame. “We’ll see, over the course of history, a continual flow of hockey players that will be included in the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame,” Fish said. “I think it’s only going to get better and better,” Francis said about the future of the sport in the state. “You see it in the youth hockey numbers. You see it in the level of teams that our community is putting on the ice. They go to different national tournaments now, and they’re not getting beat by six or eight or 10 goals; they’re competing, and they’re winning. I think that bodes well for the future of our sport going forward.” Sport in the state of North Carolina has a rich and celebrated heritage. Francis had a foundational role in hockey’s success in the state shortly following the turn of the millennium. source:

Francis becomes first hockey player inducted to North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame

Now, he can add another accomplishment to his resume. On Wednesday, Francis was officially announced as the first hockey player to ever be inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame , joining former UNC running back Kelvin Bryant, former UNC basketball coach Bill Guthridge and ex-Cincinnati Reds second baseman Tommy Helms. “The Carolina Hurricanes mean so much to the state of North Carolina and our sports history,” said Don Fish, the executive director of the Hall of Fame. “Ron is a part of that heritage. It was time to include a champion. “Ron Francis changed the face of hockey in this state.” Francis spent six years with the ‘Canes (1998-2004), emerging as a key figure on the ’02 team that made a surprising run to the Stanley Cup finals. At 38, Francis served as captain and led the club in both regular-season and playoff scoring. On Jan. 28, 2006, the Hurricanes retired Francis’ No. 10 jersey, and in 2007, Francis was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. source:

Brutal 5-week stretch dooms Hurricanes to 4th straight early summer with no playoffs

Next season Carolina will be in a division with Pittsburgh, the East’s top seed; both playoff-bound New York teams; Philadelphia; New Jersey and Washington. The Hurricanes’ payroll of $57.2 million this year would place them sixth among those seven teams. And next year, Jordan Staal’s 10-year, $60 million contract takes effect after he made $4.5 million in the final year of his existing deal. The Hurricanes also committed $34 million over the next six years to Jeff Skinner and $35 million over the next five seasons to Semin. It’s unclear what the roster will look like when training camp begins in the fall. Among the potential unrestricted free agents are forwards Chad LaRose and Tim Brent; defencemen Joe Corvo, Marc-Andre Bergeron and Bobby Sanguinetti; and backup goalie Dan Ellis. ___ Follow Joedy McCreary on Twitter at (at)JoedyAP. Fact Check Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know. * Required In which story did you find the error? * Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error. source:

NHL reveals finalists for Vezina and Norris trophies

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Subban of the Montreal Canadiens and Ryan Suter of the Minnesota Wild were named as the three finalists for the 2012-13 James Norris Memorial Trophy, awarded “to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.” Members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association (PHWA) submitted ballots for the Norris Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winners for both awards will be announced during the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Defending the cage Sergei Bobrovsky – Columbus Blue Jackets Bobrovsky (21-11-6, 2.00 goals-against average, .932 save percentage, four shutouts) backstopped Columbus’ late-season surge that kept the club in contention for a playoff berth until the final moments of the season. The first-time Vezina finalist appeared in all but one of the Blue Jackets’ franchise-record 12-game point streak (8-0-4) from Feb. 26 through Mar. 22 that spurred the club’s move up the standings. He won eight of his last nine decisions from April 9-27, posting a 1.64 goals-against average and .945 save percentage in that span. He ranked second among NHL goaltenders in save percentage and sixth in goals-against average. Henrik Lundqvist – New York Rangers Lundqvist, the reigning Vezina winner, tied for the NHL lead in wins, posting a 24-16-3 record with a 2.05 goals-against average and .926 save percentage. He also tied for the League lead in starts (43), ranked fifth in save percentage and seventh in goals-against average. source:


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