Bobby Francis was a skilled centre who played 14 games with the Detroit Red Wings in 1982-83. Although his NHL tenure was relatively short, his career as an amateur and in the minor leagues was impressive. By playing hockey professionally, the young pivot followed in the footsteps of his famous father Emile "The Cat" Francis.
Born in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, Francis excelled in the New York City metro league with the Brooklyn Stars and Bronx Shamrocks. In 1975-76 he led the Northeastern League with 74 assists while playing for the Beawick Vikings. Francis enrolled at the University of New Hampshire in 1976 and became a scoring star there in his junior and senior years.
On October 27, 1980, Francis signed his first NHL contract with the Calgary Flames. He split the 1980-81 season with the CHL's Birmingham Bulls and the Muskegon Mohawks of the "I". He enjoyed his finest pro season in 1981-82 when he led the CHL with 114 points while playing for the Oklahoma City Stars. Following that season he was chosen the league's top rookie and named to its first all-star team. The next year he scored 20 goals in 26 games before receiving a call from the Detroit Red Wings.
After a fine year with the Colorado Flames of the CHL in 1983-84, Francis played three seasons in the IHL with the Salt Lake Golden Eagles. In 1987 he retired after helping the Golden Eagles win the Turner Cup.
In 1987-88, Francis remained with Salt Lake as an assistant coach for two seasons and head coach another four before joining the AHL's Saint John Flames in 1993-94. After Saint John Francis was hired as head coach of the AHL's Providence Bruins before joining the Boston Bruins in the summer of 1997. Francis went on to spend two seasons as an assistant coach in Boston before accepting the head coaching position with the Phoenix Coyotes in 99-2000, a position he held up until the latter stages of the 2003-04 season. In only his third season as head coach of the Coyotes, Francis captured the Jack Adams Award.