RALEIGH — The Carolina Hurricanes were rocked by an organizational shakeup just days before the start of preseason training camp.
The NHL team announced Sunday that Jason Karmanos, who served as executive vice president and assistant general manager, had been fired. Karmanos is the son of majority owner Peter Karmanos Jr. and had worked in the organization for 15 years.
Peter Karmanos issued a statement Sunday, calling his son’s abrupt dismissal a “family matter” and saying he would have no further comment.
Jason Karmanos, in an interview Sunday night, said a “personal disagreement” with his father resulted in the firing Sunday morning.
“The disagreement I had with my father had nothing to do with the direction of the team or the business of the team,” Jason Karmanos said. “This has nothing to do with my job performance.
“It’s an unfortunate situation and it’s extremely disappointing. My emotions are still raw. A big chunk of my life has been devoted to working for the team and I will miss it very much, as well as all the great people that I have worked with on a daily basis.”
Jim Rutherford, the Canes’ president and general manager, on Sunday night confirmed that Karmanos’ firing was not related to his job performance. Rutherford referred to Peter Karmanos’ statement about it being a “family matter.”
Jason Karmanos said there were no legal issues that factored into the firing.
Jason Karmanos’ duties will be assumed by Ron Francis, vice president of hockey operations, and video scout/hockey operations assistant Darren Yorke. The Hurricanes begin training camp Wednesday, and the season opener is Oct. 4 against the Detroit Red Wings.
Jason Karmanos had been attending the NHL prospects tournament this past week in Traverse City, Mich., along with Rutherford, Canes coach Kirk Muller and other team coaches and officials. He flew back to Raleigh on Sunday.
Karmanos played college hockey at Harvard and later professionally for the Raleigh Ice Caps of the East Coast Hockey League. His career ended when he suffered an eye injury during the 1996-1997 season.
Karmanos was named assistant general manager of the Hurricanes in April 1998 – a position he held for nine years – and was a part of the Canes’ 2006 Stanley Cup championship.
Karmanos briefly left the organization, but returned in June 2008 as executive director of hockey operations. He became executive vice president and assistant GM in December 2009 and has worked with Rutherford and Francis on player evaluations, contract negotiations and player movement.
Karmanos also helped in overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Hurricanes and the team’s affiliates in the American Hockey League (Charlotte Checkers) and ECHL (Florida Everblades).
Asked if there might be a “cooling-off period” and if it was possible he might one day return to the Hurricanes organization, Karmanos said, “Based on the conversations I had today and how they went, I do not think so.”