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Inside Carolina Hurricanes’ awkward family drama, as Peter Karmanos fires his son

Getty ImagesSee, this is why every professional sports team should be owned by a faceless mutli-national conglomerate and not individuals, even if recent political campaigns made the point that corporations are people too, my friends.

There’s just too much family drama that can get in the way of running a franchise. Exhibit Q: Jason Karmanos was just fired by his father, Peter Karmanos, Jr., owner of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Jason Karmanos was the executive vice president and assistant general manager of the Hurricanes, and had worked for the team in some capacity for 15 years. His father said in a statement on Sunday that "this is a family matter. I have no further comment at this time."

Obviously, when a team executive is axed by his boss, the immediate assumption is the dismissal is performance based. This so would have been awesome if father and son had a blow up over, say, one of them desiring to complete the team’s Staal collection at any cost ...

Alas, according to what we’ve been told, and according to Jason Karmanos in an interview with the News & Observer, it’s actually just a family drama playing out in the front office of an NHL team. From the N&O:

“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.”

Jason Karmanos previously left the team in for around nine months in 2007-08, returning to the team in June 2008 and then taking on his current role in Dec. 2009. "I honestly thought I might do something different," Jason Karmanos said at the time. “But in relatively short order I found myself being pulled back by the team and my interest level in the game.”

Peter Karmanos, Jr., has been married three times and has seven sons and nine grandchildren.

What set off the bomb between father and son? Tough to speculate, save to say that the family drama in the Hurricanes’ managerial ranks has been ongoing from what we’ve been told, and that Jason Karmanos’ firing isn’t being seen as an immediate remedy for that dysfunction.

In Jason Karmanos, the Hurricanes lose an assistant GM that worked a lot on contracts and managed the day-to-day operations of their minor league teams.

Jeff O’Neill, a former Hurricane, tweeted that “Jason Karmanos was not really respected by the players at any level but did work every day. Seemed like an alright guy. Weird situation.”

(Keep in mind that Jason Karmanos was the hatchet man in O’Neill’s arbitration hearing. It was the only time the team went to arbitration with any of its players.)

All of this speaks to the benefits and drawbacks of the familial (or nepotisimal) aspects of the way the Hurricanes are run. No other team in the NHL has the return engagements Carolina has had, whether it’s Paul Maurice’s two stints as coach or Joe Corvo apparently having a locker on standby in the Hurricanes’ dressing room.

The professional seems personal in Carolina, and sometimes that can become too personal.

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