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Another NHL Vet Hangs Em Up


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That makes 2 of my all time faves retiring this week..first Mess, now Ron Francis

RALEIGH, N.C.-- Ron Francis, one of the NHL's career leaders in games played, goals, assists and points, announced his retirement Wednesday, ending his 23-year career.

Francis, 42, was a four-time all-star who played for Hartford, Pittsburgh, Carolina and Toronto. He ranks among the league's all-time leaders with 1,731 games (third), 549 goals (19th), 1,249 assists (second) and 1,798 points (fourth).

Francis said he had decided to retire months ago, but made it official as other notable players like Mark Messier, Scott Stevens and Al MacInnis left the game this month.

"Looking back overall, it was a long ride,'' Francis said Wednesday. "I certainly wasn't expecting it to be that long, but I certainly enjoyed many aspects of it and look back with fond memories and absolutely no regrets. It was a great part of my life.''

Francis was a part of Stanley Cup-winning teams in Pittsburgh in 1991 and 1992, and helped the Hurricanes make a surprise run to the Cup finals in 2002.

He also was a three-time winner of the Lady Byng Trophy, awarded to the player exhibiting sportsmanship and gentlemanly play combined with playing ability.

Francis said he was most proud of his career consistency -- he had 20 seasons with at least 20 goals -- and being a part of successful teams.

Of course, being mentioned alongside the game's greats like Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe in the all-time lists is pretty special, too.

"I think anybody would certainly be honored to have their name mentioned with Wayne Gretzky,'' said Francis, who is second to "The Great One'' in career assists.

"I don't really look at myself in that category, but hearing your name mentioned alongside them is something I'm proud I've accomplished, and I take that as a huge compliment.''

Congrats on a great career and best of luck down the road, Ron...

You'll ALWAYS be "Ronnie Franchise" to us here in CT :D:hockeysmiley:

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Wow...guys like Messier and Francis are titans in the game of hockey. It sucks that we'll never see Ronnie Francis on the ice again, frankly he was ALWAYS underrated and overshadowed (why, I'll never know), and I will miss him. Hell of a HOF class, huh?

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Soooooooooooooooooooooo underrated.

It's really interesting, because the more vets retire, the more and more this is looking like a big turning point for the NHL. New CBA, fresh faces, new teams (from the past few years), new rules, and a new emblem. This season could be the most significant in the history of the NHL if it turns out to be successful in ressurecting hockey.

Anyway, Ronnie Francis will be missed. Very, very classy guy.

EDIT: Second in assists and fourth in points! Unbelievable.

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Wow...guys like Messier and Francis are titans in the game of hockey. It sucks that we'll never see Ronnie Francis on the ice again, frankly he was ALWAYS underrated and overshadowed (why, I'll never know), and I will miss him. Hell of a HOF class, huh?

Between playing in media black holes like Hartford and Raleigh and riding shotgun to the likes of Lemieux and Jagr when they were in their prime...yah, it's kinda easy for a talented guy like "the Franchise" to get lost in the shuffle.

Probably one of the most underrated players I can remember...and a very classy guy to boot (had the pleasure of running into him (well not literally..that was Sean Hill :lol: ) in Detroit one time when the Canes were playing out there...he kinda got a kick out of the fact that I was from CT and grew up watching him play with the Whale.)...

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Ron Francis will always be the Hartford Whaler for sure.... and he has impressed me some more in the later years while with Pittsburgh, and later on with Carolina and lastly Toronto (which had been a shortterm time for him as well) AND Ron does have a couple Stanley Cup rings to boot.... I think he would be a good shoo in for the HOF...

As for Mark Messier..he da Moose!!!!!!! He has brought the end of the drought to the New York Rangers back in 1994 with the Stanley Cup..and after the famous gesture he did in the NYRangers-New Jersey Eastern Conference Finals series... that got him 3 goals in a Game 6 win and eventally the Rangers won the series to move to the Finals....and as for his early days in Edmonton.. amazing player, hard working and even a physical player to boot... whew....

Both Ron and Mark ought to be induced into the HOF soon and the better!!!! :notworthy: to them both!!!

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