Tom Renney, currently a Detroit Red Wings assistant coach and a veteran of 592 games as an NHL head coach, has been picked to be the new president of Hockey Canada, the national governing body for the sport in that country, according to Darren Dreger of TSN. Renney will replace Bob Nicholson who left the organization this summer after 16 years at the helm for a position as an executive with the Edmonton Oilers' ownership group.
Renney will be taking on a rather big job and taking over for a rather successful predecessor. While at Hockey Canada, Nicholson oversaw a number of successes for the organization, most notably back-to-back gold medals at the Olympics for both the men's and women's hockey teams in 2010 on home ice and in 2014 in Russia.
It may be looked at as a curious move for a career coach. Hockey Canada is a large organization with many, many different responsibilities. From governing amateur hockey across the country, overseeing the Canadian Hockey League, to managing national teams, and attracting major international events, there's no shortage of things the president of this large organization has on his plate.
Renney has had a long-standing professional relationship with Hockey Canada, however, having served as the head coach of Canada's team at the 1994 Olympic Winter Games, where the team claimed silver in the infamous shootout against Peter Forsberg and Sweden.
Additionally, Renney served as a coach at 10 world championship events for Canada, helping the country to three gold medals, three silver and two bronzes. Renney also previously served vice president of hockey operations for Hockey Canada from 1998-99. So he knows the organization well and should have a good handle on the responsibilities that come with the job.
Renney's long coaching career includes stints with the New York Rangers, Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers. He compiled a 260-255-68 record with nine ties as a head coach. He was reportedly a candidate for open head coaching jobs this offseason as well.
With Renney's departure the Red Wings have lost both their assistant coaches from last season, which has been a rather common occurrence for the well-respected organization. Bill Peters, the other assistant, was hired by the Carolina Hurricanes as their new head coach. So that puts head coach Mike Babcock and general manager Ken Holland in a bit of a bind.
It was the frequency with which the Red Wings were losing coaches and execs that made Holland one of the driving forces of teams getting compensated with draft picks for having their under-contract employees hired away. That rule was approved this offseason, but unfortunately for the Wings, Hockey Canada has no draft picks to send their way.
The club has reportedly hired Tony Granato, former Colorado Avalanche head coach and most recently an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins, to take one of the vacant spots. So that softens the blow a bit, but the Red Wings can't be terribly happy about the fact that they're continually having to replace high-level employees in a time where the franchise may be entering more of a transitional period.
Renney will reportedly be introduced by Hockey Canada in his new role Tuesday in Calgary.