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Tom Renney to retire from Hockey Canada

CEO Tom Renney, who got his start in coaching the during the mid-1980s in the KIJHL with Trail Smoke Eaters and Columbia Valley Rockies, has announced his retirement from Hockey Canada effective July 1, 2022. — Hockey Canada photo

Hockey Canada and its board of directors announced Wednesday the retirement of chief executive officer Tom Renney of Cranbrook, effective July 1, 2022.

Renney, who got his start in coaching in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League with Trail and Columbia Valley, said this is a decision he's been preparing for over the past year and knows the time is right and is grateful for the past eight years.

“I am appreciative of the opportunity that was afforded to me by past board chair, Jim Hornell, to lead this organization as its president and CEO," Renney said.

"To our Hockey Canada directors past and present, chair Michael Brind’Amour, the volunteers and our incredible staff, I thank you for your dedication, commitment and support of our great game. I thank the people I have met through this game who have all made a positive and lasting impact in my life."

Renney congratulated new CO Scott Smith on his appointment.

"I know the game will continue to grow and evolve, and that it will continue to make great strides under his leadership," Renney said.

"Finally, and most importantly, to my family – my wife Glenda, our daughters Jessica and Jamie, and our grandchildren - thank you for your sacrifices and your support. I look forward being home and spending more time together and supporting you in your own endeavours."

Renney joined Hockey Canada as president and chief executive officer in July 2014, overseeing all areas of the organization including high performance and hockey development programs both nationally and internationally, as well as corporate sales, events and marketing, membership services and operations.

In 2017, he stepped down from his position as president and appointed Scott Smith (Bathurst, N.B.) to the role, adding to Smith’s responsibilities as chief operating officer. Prior to his current role, Renney served as vice-president of hockey operations with the organization from 1998 to 2000.

During his time as chief executive officer, Renney has helped guide Canada’s national men’s, women’s and para hockey teams to 28 medals in international competition - nine gold, 15 silver and four bronze - including gold and silver in the women’s tournament at the 2022 and 2018 Olympic Winter Games, respectively.

He also helped Canada win silver at the 2018 and 2022 Paralympic Winter Games, and bronze in the men’s tournament at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

Before joining the organization’s hockey operations department, he won a silver medal as head coach of Canada’s Men’s Olympic Team at the 1994 Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway. He added silver (1996) and bronze (1995) as head coach of Canada’s National Men’s Team at the IIHF World Championship, and won a gold medal (1994) and two silver (2004, 2005) as an assistant coach.

At the 1999 IIHF World Junior Championship, he earned a silver medal as head coach of Canada’s National Junior Team. Renney’s international contributions have also included serving as chair of the Coaching Committee with the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) since 2015.

Michael Brind’Amour, chair of the Hockey Canada Board of Directors, announced that Smith will succeed Renney as chief executive officer while retaining his title of president.

“It is a bittersweet yet exciting day for Hockey Canada as we reflect on Tom’s leadership and legacy, while welcoming Scott into his new role,” said Brind’Amour.

“Tom, on behalf of the board of directors, our Members and the entire staff, congratulations on all your success. Your hard work and commitment to the game is evident in the direction you have led our organization. We are positioned to continue to grow the game and make it accessible to participants across the country. I wish you, Glenda and your family all the best in your well-deserved retirement.

There is no question Scott is ready to embrace this change, with his expertise and experience working alongside Tom ensuring a smooth transition into his role as CEO. For the past two decades, his understanding of the game and its importance will be invaluable as we work to best to serve our Members from the grassroots to the national level.”

In his new role, effective July 1, Smith will work with the board of directors through the transition. He joined Hockey Canada in 1995 as manager of hockey operations for the organization’s Atlantic Centre of Excellence and moved to its Calgary head office in 1997.

He has also held roles as director of operations, and vice-president, executive and senior vice-president of operations before being appointed COO in 2007. Smith has played an integral role in the growth of Hockey Canada’s brand and business operations, leading the hosting of national and international events which have produced a legacy of more than $120 million for Canadian hockey, while also developing and executing the Hockey Canada International Event Strategy with the IIHF.

“I am extremely grateful and excited to work with our staff and continue the work Tom has started as we bring new players into our game, grow our development programs and ensure our national teams continue to represent Canada with pride,” said Smith.

“I would like to thank our board members and leadership team, as well as our entire staff and my family for their ongoing support. This is not a position I take lightly, but I am extremely proud to continue to build on our strengths while working to make the game accessible for everyone."

— With files from Hockey Canada