Ron Francis talks next steps as NHL Seattle GM
Seattle’s yet-to-be-named NHL team won’t begin play until the 2021-2022 season, but the organization has already named its first ever general manager: Hartford Whalers Hall of Famer Ron Francis.
Francis joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny, Dave and Moore Friday to explain how he came to accept the position as well as his outlook for the future of Seattle’s franchise. You can listen to the interview in the audio clip embedded below. Here are a few quick highlights:
How did those early meetings with the Seattle NHL ownership group come about? “The first trip out here started with dinner with (NHL Seattle CEO) Tod (Leiweke) and then breakfast with Tod, and I got to know some of the staff and met with one of the owners that time. The second time in I went through interviews with more of the owners. For me, it was very impressive from day one — the type of people first of all who they are, acting with integrity and character, listening to what their vision is for this franchise and how proud they are of the city of Seattle and what they want to give back to it via this franchise. The more I listened the more I kept saying this is a great opportunity. It’s certainly a daunting task any time you start a franchise from scratch, but it’s also a pretty unique opportunity that doesn’t come along every day and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
What’s the next step? “I think it’s forming that list and getting it finalized from an organizational flow chart (standpoint) — what we want our coaching staff to look like, what we want our Palm Springs coaching staff to look like, our pro scouting or amateur scouting, analytics, sports science and performance. There’s a lot of things we have to fill out. So we’ll get that chart up and running, and then the timing of when we want to hire those people. More of the scouting positions will probably be filled a year from now, but the one area I think we can probably start moving on sooner rather than later is the analytics department because we can still pull data and analyze it, since games start in October.”