We are over a quarter of the way through the Carolina Hurricanes season and Tom Dundon has managed to fade away from the spotlight. Like he said he would.
It’s no secret that for the first year and some of his tenure as owner of the Carolina Hurricanes, Tom Dundon was hands on. Not only was he hands on but he was impatient and played well outside of the established norms and traditions of the National Hockey league. From the tracksuit to his overbearing presence with the team, Tom Dundon upset the scales.
Back then people were concerned with the amount of micromanaging he did. Why did he so quickly fire Ron Francis? Why was Rod Brind’amour chosen to be the new coach instead of someone from outside the organisation? Why did it take so long to get Don Waddell a contract? Is he cheap or does he simply not understand how things work in the NHL?
We had our questions but looking back now, it seems like Tom Dundon was a misunderstood genius who was simply protecting us from a larger story that has since blown up with several questions still unanswered. But now that we have more questions for the man that was personally steering the team towards success he is nowhere to be found.
That is by design. Tom Dundon’s overbearing parental presence was never supposed to last. He himself told NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti that he would fade away as the team got better and things were back on track:
"“I think it’s appropriate right now that I challenge and question everything we do, so we can get a process that everyone buys into and we’re comfortable with. Once we do, I would be less likely to be involved with things that I think are working properly.”"
Perhaps his overbearing presence at the beginning was a response to the allegations against Bill Peters? Perhaps his personally conducted exit interviews was his way of investigating the incidents and the resulting terminations and staff changeover were his way of cleaning house of all those who enabled Peters. We might never know.
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Peter Karmanos said that he would have fired Bill Peters in a heartbeat had he known. How much we want to believe him is up to you, but we can at least now know that there was a culture problem and Dundon had played his part towards changing it for the better. That said, his role is over and just as he promised he faded away and let Don Waddell and Rod Brind’amour run the show.
What did or did not happen and what did or did not lead Tom Dundon to making the management and coaching decisions that he did are still unknown. What we do know is that since he has come on board he has kept virtually every promise he has made. That includes his promise to disappear when he needed to.
Question For CC Readers: Should Tom Dundon return back and let us in on what happened or should we all move past it?