Sunday, January 29, 2006

Captain Ron's Night

Ron FrancisThe 28th of January was Ron Francis' night. This night his former team, the Carolina Hurricans of the NHL, retired Captain Ron's No.10 jersey (meaning no oneelse in the team will ever be able to wear the number and play professionally). Francis was a model of consistency, averaging more than a point a game in over 1700 games in 23 seasons though he never won a scoring or MVP trophy. His three Lady Byng Trophies, however, attest to his gentlemanly conduct on and off the ice. In the NHL record book, Francis stands second all-time in career assists (behind Wayne Gretzky) with 1,249, fourth in career points (1,798), third in games played (1,731), and twenty-first in career goals (549). Francis began his career in 1981 with the Hartford Whalers after being selected in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft. Francis was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991 with Ulf Samuelsson for Zarley Zalapski and John Cullen; his trade from the Whalers to the Penguins was considered a coup for Pittsburgh, where he centred a formidable second line behind Mario Lemieux's first line. Francis returned to his original organization as a free agent for 1998-99, signing with the Carolina Hurricanes, and captained the Hurricanes to the 2002 Stanley Cup final where they lost to the Detroit Red Wings. Francis finished his career with a brief stint with the Toronto Maple Leafs, traded there by the Hurricanes in March 2004 to allow him one last run at the Stanley Cup. He retired from the NHL before the 2005-06 season and assumed a position with the Raleigh Youth Hockey Association.

Ron Francis
He has won 2 Stanley Cups, in 1991 and in 1992 for Pittsburgh. His best season was 1995-96 when he had 119 points; that season, he led the league in assists with 92. The previous season, he also led the league in assists with 48 over the strike-shortened half-season schedule. His Whalers number #10 was raised at the Hartford Civic Center on January 6, 2006 (though not officially retired, the Whalers organization no longer existing to retire it), and his Hurricanes #10 jersey was retired by the Carolina organization on January 28, 2006. Achievements
1983- played in NHL All-Star Game
1985- played in NHL All-Star Game
1990- played in NHL All-Star Game
1995- Alka-Seltzer Plus Award
1995- Frank J. Selke Trophy
1995- Lady Byng Trophy
1996- played in NHL All-Star Game
1998- Lady Byng Trophy
2002- Lady Byng Trophy
2002- King Clancy Memorial Trophy
The only player in NHL history to be named to captain two separate franchises (Hartford/Carolina and Pittsburgh) each in two separate periods.

Song for the day - "Burning Bridges" - REMY SHAND