According to reports, the Florida Panthers next head coach will be one of the these six men: Bill Peters, Gerard Gallant, Dan Bylsma, Marc Crawford, and Ron Wilson, who we've already taken a look at (click on their names if you missed the articles). Now we take a look at the final candidate among the sextet, Tom Renney.
Tom Renney rose to prominence courtesy of a two-year, standout stint with the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League. He led the major junior team to a 50-20-2 record his first season, and followed that up with a league title and Memorial Cup win in 1991-92. That success landed him the job as head coach of the Canadian Men's National Team, culminating in a Silver Medal at the 1994 Lillehammer Games. Renney has been a mainstay for Canada's national program, coaching various teams in different roles in many tournaments across the world, ever since.
In 1996, the Vancouver Canucks were the first organization to give Renney a head coaching job in the NHL. He led the team to a 35-40-7 record, a two-point decline from the prior season. The Canucks missed the playoffs, but did go 6-1-3 in their final ten games to finish the campaign off on a positive note. Unfortunately, that didn't carry over into the next season, as Renney was fired after compiling a 4-13-2 record in 19 games. He wouldn't be behind an NHL bench again until late in the 2003-04 campaign when Glen Sather had him come out of the New York Rangers front office to take over coaching duties. Renney guided the team to a putrid 5-15 finish over the final twenty games of that turbulent season, but led the Broadway Blueshirts to three-straight postseason berths after that. Over that three-year span, Renney's Rangers racked up an impressive 128 regular season wins. Despite leading the team to a respectable 31-23-7 start to the 2008-09 season, he was fired on February 23rd and replaced by John Tortorella. The next season, Renney was reunited with Pat Quinn, who was the GM who gave him his first NHL job, in Edmonton. Renney worked under Quinn as an assistant during the 2009-10 campaign before taking over the reins as the Oilers' head coach for the next two seasons. His teaching skills were put to the test by the young Edmonton squad, but the club did improve from 25 wins in 2010-11 to 32 wins in 2011-12. After that season, the Oilers chose not to renew his contract, so Renney joined the Detroit Red Wings and has spent the last two years there as an associate coach under Mike Babcock.
While his overall record of 260-255-9-68 doesn't exactly elicit any kind of wow factor, Tom Renney is extremely well-respected and is one of those consummate "hockey guys" who will always find work in the NHL. The Cranbrook, BC native is plenty knowledgable, has a strong reputation for bettering younger players, and when given a good team to work with in New York, did produce nice results. More than a few of the current Rangers who just participated in the Stanley Cup Final against Los Angeles give Renney high praise for his work in the Big Apple. However, when stacking up his accomplishments against some of the other candidates like Byslma, Crawford and Wilson, particularly at the NHL-level, there seems to be a definite gap there. At this stage of the game, I just don't see the Florida Panthers giving Renney the nod, so I will put him in the dark horse category with Bill Peters.