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


Ron Francis has won a Stanley Cup, a Selke Trophy and has been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame during his illustrious career.

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.

Fish said Francis’ induction solidifies hockey’s growing popularity in the state of North Carolina.

“It’s a sport that is relatively new in time but is so popular,” he explained. “No question about it: hockey will be recognized forever in this state.”

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?