RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Carolina Hurricanes hired former captain and current assistant Rod Brind’Amour as their coach Tuesday, hoping the “greatest leader” in franchise history can end a nine-year playoff drought.
The team also announced that club president Don Waddell will become the full-time general manager after serving as acting GM.
The team scheduled a news conference for Wednesday to discuss the moves.
Waddell said a number of coaching candidates were discussed, but “our conversations with staff and players consistently returned to the same person.”
One of the team’s most decorated players, Brind’Amour captained the Hurricanes’ only Stanley Cup championship team in 2006.
“Rod is the greatest leader in the history of this franchise, and has earned the opportunity to take charge of our locker room,” Waddell said in a statement.
The two-time Selke Award winner as the NHL’s best defensive forward retired in 2010 and ranks third in club history in assists (299), fourth in points (473) and fifth in games played (694).
He replaces Bill Peters, who opted out of his contract last month following his fourth year and subsequently was hired by the Calgary Flames. He becomes the Hurricanes’ third straight first-time NHL head coach, after Kirk Muller and Peters.
Brind’Amour has been a Carolina assistant since 2011. He spent half his 20-season NHL career with the Hurricanes, leading them to the Stanley Cup finals in 2002 and again four years later.
But Carolina has made the playoffs only once in the 12 years since Brind’Amour hoisted the Cup, and the Hurricanes’ nine-year absence from the postseason is one of the longest stretches in NHL history.
That has led to a busy five months for the Hurricanes, with Dallas businessman Tom Dundon buying a majority interest in the team from longtime owner Peter Karmanos Jr. in January.
A month later, Hall of Fame player and general manager Ron Francis — who, like Brind’Amour, has his jersey number hanging from the PNC Arena rafters — was reassigned to another front-office position, and his contract was terminated last week.
In between, Peters — who was hired by Francis in 2014 — exercised the out clause in his contract, saying the incoming general manager should be able to pick his own coach.
Turns out, that job fell to Waddell — the former general manager and president of the Atlanta Thrashers who had been part of the Hurricanes’ front office since 2014 and had been filling in since Francis’ demotion and subsequent exit.