It was reported today that Tom Renney will take over Bob Nicholson's former duties for Hockey Canada president and CEO going forward with the announcement happening tomorrow from Hockey Canada's headquarters in Calgary. Renney brings seventeen years of hockey experience with him from the WHL and NHL, and has ties with Hockey Canada's programs as he won a silver medal in the 1994 Winter Olympics and been a part of ten World Championship teams. In other words, Renney brings a pile of experience with him.
At the time that he resigned, Nicholson was hopeful that his successor would be passionate about hockey in all forms, stating, "Make sure that you're in Flin Flon and all the small minor hockey across the country. Talk about sledge hockey, talk about women's hockey. The other stuff'll come. The NHL, the Canadian Hockey League, we have good partnerships there and it'll continue to be strong."
Tom Renney's appointment to the positions of president and CEO will certainly cement that wish.
Renney brings with his a pair of seasons as head coach with the Kamloops Blazers before being appointed as head coach of the Canadian Olympic team that participated in the 1994 Winter Olympics. In his two seasons with the Blazers, Renney compiled a 101-37-6 record - simply outstanding! He left the Olympic team after earning the silver medal before signing on as the head coach of the Vancouver Canucks, replacing the fired Pat Quinn, in 1996-97 where he led the team to a 35-40-7 mark but missed the playoffs. He didn't last a second season, unfortunately, as the Mike Keenan era began in Vancouver.
Renney would resurface in New York with the Rangers as the Director of Player Personnel. He was promoted Vice President of Player Development on June 21, 2002, and was the main force behind the founding of the NY Rangers Development camp at Madison Square Garden in the off-season. In 2003-04, he stepped behind the bench once more as an assistant coach with the Rangers before taking over with twenty games to play as Glen Sather relinquished his coaching duties. In nearly four seasons as the head coach on Broadway, Renney compiled a 164-121-42 record and twice advanced to the Conference Semi-Finals. On February 23, 2009, Renney was fired from the Rangers as the team looked like it was going to miss the playoffs, being replaced by John Tortorella.
Renney jumped at the chance to be an associate coach with the Edmonton Oilers in 2009-10 as he joined Pat Quinn behind the Edmonton Bench. The following summer, Renney took over from Quinn, being named the Oilers' head coach on June 22, 2010 after Quinn was named as Senior Adviser of Hockey Operations for the Oilers. Renney spent two years as the head coach in the City of Champions watching them restock with a lot of young talent such as Sam Gagner, Taylor Hall, and Jordan Eberle. Success didn't follow, though, as Renney's two seasons saw him put up a 57-85-22 mark as the Oilers missed the playoffs in both seasons. The Oilers announced after the 2011-12 season that his contract would not be renewed.
The following season saw Renney join Mike Babcock in Detroit as an associate coach, working with one of the best in the business. Add in that Babcock was the chosen man for the job at the last two Olympic Games, and there is no reason to think that the former Detroit associate coach would look anywhere else unless Babcock firmly states that he has no interest in coaching the Canadian Olympic squad in the future. Even then, you'd think that Renney would still put the bug in Babcock's ear whenever he had the chance as Hockey Canada's president and CEO.
All in all, this is a good signing. Renney has had junior, professional, and international experiences that have taught him a lot about the game. He's still passionate about hockey, and he knows the business and the people inside the business well. Hockey Canada will do well with this hiring. Renney is a good choice to replace Bob Nicholson, and he'll push Hockey Canada to new heights.
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!