Detroit Red Wings associate coach Tom Renney is the new president and CEO of Hockey Canada, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger. Which seems like a nice upwardly mobile career move.
He replaces Bob Nicholson, who is now the vice-chairman of the Katz Group, putting him at the head of the Edmonton Oilers empire.
Renney has history with Hockey Canada, coaching the national team from 1992-94, including Canada’s silver medal in the 1992 Lillehammer Games (thanks, Peter Forsberg). Renney has coached in 10 world championship competitions for Canada, capturing three gold medals, three silver medals and two bronze medals. He served as vice president of hockey operations for Hockey Canada in 1998 and ’99, under Nicholson.
He’s also credited for a sea-change in the way Canada selected its world junior teams, advising Hockey Canada to end the practice of players dropping into the tournament without attending selection camp.
Renney’s a very solid successor to Nicholson. First, because he understands the culture Nicholson established in Hockey Canada’s ranks: That of gold medal or bust, for better or worst. But also because he’s brought a CEO’s focus and structure to the teams he’s coached.
Of course, that’s the trick, as Jonathan Willis notes: Renney is best known for being behind the bench, not the boardroom. From Cult of Hockey:
It’s going to be interesting to see how he does in the top job at Hockey Canada, because his background is much different than that of his predecessor. While Nicholson cut his teeth as an organizer in amateur hockey, the bulk of Renney’s resume comes on the coaching side.
Still, it’s hard not to see this as a decent fit for both parties. In Renney, Hockey Canada gets a man who has extensive experience in both the national program and in hockey operations in general. For his part, Renney could have just stuck with coaching, but his new job gives him both a significantly larger profile than he had in Detroit and an opportunity to substantially impact the present and future of hockey in Canada.
For a guy that’s been working to develop players, and winners, in Canadian hockey for close to 25 years, Renney will relish the chance.