One of the most popular general managers in the NHL will be around for a while.
Jim Rutherford, the pride of Beeton, Ont., was given a four-year contract extension on Thursday by Hurricanes owner Pete Karmanos. He was signed through the 2015-16 season.
Rutherford, 62, is in his 18th season as the Hurricanes’ GM, going back to their days as the Hartford Whalers. That also gives him the second-longest tenure of any NHL GM. Only Lou Lamoriello, who became GM of the New Jersey Devils before the 1987-88 season, has served longer with the same team.
“In the 14 years since the Hurricanes arrived in North Carolina, [Rutherford’s]leadership has allowed our franchise to host two Stanley Cup finals, the NHL all-star game and the NHL draft, bringing tremendously positive attention to the team and the area,” Karmanos said in a team press release. “This contract will take him through his 30th year with our hockey organization, and I am proud to have been associated with Jim for that long.”
Coming out of the 2004-05 lockout, Rutherford led the Hurricanes to the 2006 Stanley Cup when they beat the Edmonton Oilers in seven games. The only other Cup final the Hurricanes made was in 2002 when they lost to the Detroit Red Wings.
Rutherford’s easy-going personality makes him a popular fellow with his peers and the media. He also played a leading role in the drive to get the NHL to adopt tougher punishment against hits to the head and study concussions seriously.