Eleven new members are set to join the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. Thursday night's induction ceremony and banquet marks the museum's 50th anniversary.
Hall of Fame executive director Don Fish says the class of 2013 includes hockey legend Ron Francis, who retired a year before the Carolina Hurricanes won their first and only championship.
"It changed the face of sports in North Carolina," Fish says.
"We all know what he did bring in the playoffs, and... although he didn't play in it, it was what Ron did prior to that and building (the team) that afforded North Carolina to enjoy a Stanley Cup."
Francis will be the first hockey player to enter the state's Hall of Fame. The museum will also introduce fast-pitch softball with pitcher Wade Garrett of Lexington.
Other inductees include UNC basketball coach Bill Guthridge, Carolina running back Kelvin Bryant, and Charlotte native Tommy Helms, who played for the Cincinnati Reds with Pete Rose and Johnny Bench.
Rounding out this year's athletes are Lenoir-Rhyne football player and high school coach Marion Kirby, Elon football and basketball player Rich McGeorge, Special Olympian Marty Sheets of Greensboro, and the Winston-Salem tennis star, Mildred Southern.
Late sports journalists Bob Quincy and Hugh Morton will also be inducted posthumously this year.