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Sports brief: Francis named Seattle NHL general manager

  • Ron Francis, center, is presented with a hockey jersey by Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, left, as Seattle Hockey Partners CEO Tod Leiweke looks on Thursday, July 18, 2019, in Seattle, as Francis is introduced as the first general manager for Seattle's yet-to-be-named NHL expansion team. Francis, a Hall of Famer and a two-time Stanley Cup winner, will have complete control of operations under Leiweke when the team debuts in 2021. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

  • Ron Francis talks to reporters, Thursday, July 18, 2019, in Seattle after he was introduced as the first general manager for Seattle's yet-to-be-named NHL hockey expansion team. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)


The Associated Press
Thursday, July 18, 2019

SEATTLE — Seattle’s NHL expansion team has announced its general manager — Ron Francis, a Hall of Famer and a two-time Stanley Cup winner. He will have complete control of operations under Seattle Hockey Partners CEO Tod Leiweke. The yet-to-be-named team will debut in 2021.

This is Francis’ first post-playing career job outside the Carolina Hurricanes. He worked with them for 12 years and was general manager from 2014-18 after retiring. The Hurricanes didn’t make the playoffs while he was there, but he set in motion many player decisions that helped Carolina reach the Stanley Cup finals last season.

Francis had a prolific NHL career. He finished with 1,798 points in 1,731 games over 23 seasons for the Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs and Pittsburgh Penguins, where he won the Stanley Cup in 1991 and 1992.

The Seattle club also said on Thursday it has more than 32,000 season ticket deposit holders and another 25,000 on a waiting list.

NFL FootballMo. man fined for pointing laser at Patriots’ Brady during game

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Missouri man has been fined $500 for pointing a laser at New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during the AFC championship with the Kansas City Chiefs in January.

KMBC-TV reported Dwyan Morgan pleaded guilty on Wednesday to a misdemeanor, disturbing the peace. He will pay the fine with no jail time.

Footage of the game showed a green light flashing on Brady late in the Patriots’ 37-31 overtime win on Jan. 20 at Arrowhead Stadium. Prosecutors say Brady was unaware of the laser.

Horse RacingSaratoga Saturday card called off

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — The New York Racing Association has canceled Saturday’s card of racing at Saratoga Race Course due to excessive heat forecast for eastern New York.

The National Weather Service is predicting a heat index as high as 110 degrees. Training will be permitted on Saturday on both the main track and Oklahoma training track in the normally cooler temperatures in the morning.

The last time an entire racing card was canceled at Saratoga because of extreme heat was Aug. 2, 2006, when temperatures rose to the upper 90s and the heat index measured as high as 110 degrees.

NYRA president Dave O’Rourke calls the move “of the utmost importance” to NYRA and its industry partners.

The sport has come under increased scrutiny with the deaths of 30 horses during the recent racing season at Santa Anita in Southern California.

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2 horses killed at Del Mar in collision during training

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DEL MAR, Calif. (AP) — Two horses have been killed in a collision at Del Mar during training on the second day of its 2019 season.

The track says the accident occurred Thursday morning when the horse Charge A Bunch threw rider Geovanni Franco, turned sharply and collided with Carson Valley.

Carson Valley’s rider, jockey Assael Espinoza, was taken to a hospital for evaluation but Franco was not injured.

Carson Valley’s trainer, Bob Baffert, says it was a freak accident beyond anyone’s control.

The Del Mar deaths follow 30 horse fatalities at the just-ended Santa Anita meet. Those deaths led to an array of new procedures intended to increase safety.

Seton Hall hires alumnus Bryan Felt as athletic director

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SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. (AP) — Bryan Felt has been hired as the athletic director at Seton Hall.

The Big East Conference school announced Thursday that Felt will replace Pat Lyons, who was promoted to executive vice president and chief of staff at the university.

Felt has been the athletic director at nearby Saint Peter’s University since September 2017.

He has been associated with Seton Hall for more than 20 years. Felt received his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at the school. After working in the television industry, he started working at the university in 2001 and was named executive director of the Pirate Blue Athletic Fund in 2004.

In September 2011, Felt joined Lyons’ senior administration, eventually overseeing the athletic department’s fundraising, tickets, communications, digital media and marketing.