The 2002 Canes: Where are they now?

May 27, 2012 

Where are they now?

A look at the Carolina Hurricanes of 2002 and what’s become of them in the past decade:

Ron Francis

The Canes’ captain in 2002, he scored the winning goal in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals. Francis, 49, retired in 2005, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007 and is the Hurricanes’ director of hockey operations.

Rod Brind’Amour

Brind’Amour was traded from the Philadelphia Flyers to the Canes in January 2000 and was an alternate captain in 2002. Succeeding Francis as captain, he led the Canes to the 2006 Stanley Cup title. Brind’Amour, 41, is a Hurricanes assistant coach.

Glen Wesley

The defenseman was with the Hartford Whalers when they relocated in 1997 and an alternate captain in 2002. Wesley, 43, retired after the 2008 season, having played more than 1,400 games. He is director of defensemen development for the Canes.

Kevyn Adams

The forward was acquired from the Florida Panthers in the ’02 as part of the trade that sent Sandis Ozolinsh to Florida, and also was a key contributor on the Canes’ ’06 champs. Adams, 37, retired in 2009 and is associate coach for the Buffalo Sabres.

Bates Battaglia

Battaglia played on Brind’Amour’s line in 2002 alongside Erik Cole – the "BBC line" – and scored a career-high 21 goals. Battaglia, 36, has played in the American Hockey League or in Europe most of the past four seasons. He lives in Raleigh.

Erik Cole

Cole, 33, was a rookie in 2002 and is the only player still active in the NHL. A member of the Canes’ 2006 Stanley Cup champs, Cole signed a free-agent contract with the Montreal Canadiens after the 2010-2011 season.

Jeff Daniels

The forward won a Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1992 before coming to the Canes. Retiring in 2003, he was an assistant coach on the Canes’ 2006 champions. Daniels, 43, is head coach of the Charlotte Checkers, the Canes’ AHL affiliate.

Martin Gelinas

A hard-working winger, Gelinas was waived during the ’02 season but not claimed. His overtime goal in Game 6 clinched the Eastern Conference finals against Toronto. Gelinas, 41, is director of player development for the Nashville Predators.

Bret Hedican

The defenseman also was obtained from the Panthers in the ’02 Ozolinsh trade and helped stabilize the Canes’ blue line. A member of the ’06 Cup champs, he retired in 2009. Hedican, 41, has been an analyst on the San Jose Sharks’ TV broadcasts.

Sean Hill

The defenseman, who won a Cup with the Montreal Canadiens in 1993, gave the ’02 Canes team toughness on the back end after being reacquired from the St. Louis Blues during the season. Hill, 42, last played in the NHL in 2008. He serves as a youth hockey coach in Arizona.

Arturs Irbe

The diminutive goalie from Riga, Latvia, was at his best in the ’02 playoffs and had a 1.67 goals-against average. Irbe, 45, last played for the Canes in 2004. He later was goaltending coach for the Washington Capitals but left the Caps last June.

Sami Kapanen

The flying Finn was the Canes’ fastest skater and a 27-goal scorer in ’02. Kapanen, 38, left the NHL in 2008 but has played for KalPa Kuopio in SM-liiga in Finland. He’s majority owner and general manager of the team.

Marek Malik

The defenseman was another former Whaler. Malik had bruiser size at 6-6 and 240 pounds but was not overly physical. Now 36, he left the NHL in 2009 and plays professional hockey in his native Czech Republic.

Jeff O’Neill

The forward led the Canes with 31 goals in the ’02 season and was a fan favorite in seven seasons with Carolina. O’Neill, 36, played two final seasons for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He retired in September 2008 after a tryout with the Canes and lives in Toronto.

Jaroslav Svoboda

A rookie in the ’02 season, the slender winger joined with Josef Vasicek and Martin Gelinas to give the Canes a productive line in the playoffs. His career quickly sputtered and he spent just one more season in the NHL. Svoboda, 31, has played in the Czech leagues.

David Tanabe

The defenseman was the Canes’ first-round draft pick in 1999 and was in his second full season with the team in 2002. A wrist injury kept Tanabe out of all but one playoff game in the ’02, and concussion problems later curtailed his career. Now 31, he lives in Minnesota.

Josef Vasicek

"Big Joe" was playing his third season for the Canes in 2002 and had the overtime winner in Game 5 of the opening-round playoff series against the New Jersey Devils. Another popular player, Vasicek was on the ’06 champs. He died last September when the jet carrying his KHL team crashed on takeoff in Russia. He was 30.

Aaron Ward

The defenseman won Stanley Cup rings with the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and ’98 before coming to the Canes, and would add a third ring in 2006. Ward retired in 2010 and lives in the Raleigh area.

Kevin Weekes

The goalie was traded to the Canes from Tampa Bay in March 2002 and was a capable backup for Irbe in the playoffs. Weekes had two shutouts – the first a 1-0 win over the Devils that clinched the series. Weekes, 37, retired in 2009 and has served as an analyst for Hockey Night in Canada.

Tommy Westlund

The forward played four seasons in the NHL, all with the Canes, before returning to his native Sweden in 2003. Westlund, 37, is an amateur scout for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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