Ronald Michael “Ron” Francis Jr. (born March 1 1963) is a former Canadian ice hockey center. He played 23 seasons in the NHL with the Hartford Whalers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Carolina Hurricanes and Toronto Maple Leafs. Francis is a two-time Stanley Cup Champion (1991 and 1992).
Ron Francis played in the 1975 and 1976 Quebec Pee-Wee Hockey Tournaments and after that he played minor ice hockey with Sault Ste. Marie North Stars and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Francis was drafted by the Hartford Whalers in the first round, 4th overall, of the 1981 NHL Draft.
Ron Francis started his Whalers career in season 1981-82. He played almost ten seasons with the Whalers and serving as captain for almost six years. He played 714 games (most of the Whalers history) and he is also franchise scoring leader with 821 (264+557) points. Francis was one of the most popular players on the Whalers team and Whalers fans were not happy when Francis was traded 4.3.1991 to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Mario Lemieux was a big star in Pittsburgh Penguins, but rest of the team was not so good. Francis centred quality second line behind Lemieux and the Penguins won their first Stanley Cup less than three months after Francis came to the team. In 1991-92 season Pittsburgh Penguins won second Stanley Cup a row and again Ron Francis was important piece of that win. Francis played seven seasons with Pittsburgh Penguins before returned to his original organization as a free agent for season 1998-99 signing with Carolina Hurricanes.
Hartford Whalers’ organization had moved to Carolina in 1997-98 season and Ron Francis made a comeback 1998-99. Francis played 5,5 seasons with Hurricanes and he still ranks first all-time in Whalers/Hurricanes history in points, goals, assists and games played. Highlight of Francis’ Hurricanes career was season 2001-2002 when he captained the Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup Finals as an outsider (they lose to the Detroit Red Wings 1-4). Francis finished his career with short stint with the Toronto Maple Leafs – Carolina traded him in March 2004 to allow Francis one last run at the Stanley Cup.
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Ron Francis won Frank J. Selke Trophy 1995 and Lady Byng Trophy 1995, 1998 and 2002. He is still 2nd place of all-time regular season NHL-assists (1249 – Wayne Gretzky leads with 1963 assists). Ron Francis was known as one of the best face-off men in NHL history. Ron Francis was named general manager of Carolina Hurricanes 2014. His contract was terminated 30.4.2018. On 18.6.2019 Francis was named general manager of the upcoming Seattle NHL team.