WINNIPEG, MB -- Tom Renney has been named the head coach of Canada's National Junior Team that will compete at the 1999 World Junior Hockey Championship in Winnipeg and surrounding cities from Dec. 26 - Jan. 5, the CHA and the Canadian Hockey League announced Tuesday.
Renney replaces George Burnett, who resigned as head coach of the National Junior Team on Aug. 18 after accepting a position as assistant coach with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks of the National Hockey League. Burnett coached the OHL's Guelph Storm to the Memorial Cup in May, losing in overtime to the Portland Winter Hawks in the final game. Renney is the CHA's vice-president, hockey.
Renney will work with assistants Claude Julien, head coach of the Hull Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and Stan Butler, head coach of the expansion Brampton Battalion of the Ontario Hockey League. Julien guided the Olympiques to the 1997 Memorial Cup title and was head coach of Canada's National Under-18 Team that won an international tournament in the Czech Republic in August 1997. Butler was an assistant coach on that team.
"This is a very special situation in naming our National Junior Team Head Coach at this time of year," said CHA president Bob Nicholson. "This is the first time we have had to replace the National Junior Team head coach following the summer evaluation camp since the Program of Excellence began in 1981.
"We believe that Tom's international experience, along with his great leadership skills will enable him to field a well-prepared, well-focused Canadian team for the World Junior Hockey Championship in Winnipeg."
Nicholson noted that Canadian teams have performed very well under Renney in international competition. "In three trips to the World Hockey Championship with Team Canada, Tom led Canada to gold- (1994), silver- (1996) and bronze-medal (1995) finishes. Renney also led Canada's Olympic Team to a silver medal at the 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway."
Renney's appointment was announced following a thorough evaluation process carried out by the National Junior Team Policy Committee, which is made up of Dave Branch, president of the Canadian Hockey League and the OHL, Gilles Courteau, president of the QMJHL, and WHL commissioner Dev Dley, Nicholson, and Sheldon Lanchbery, a CHA vice-chairman-at-large.
"This is a difficult situation to put a head coach into," said CHL president Branch. "We feel confident, however, that we have identified the best coach in Tom Renney. Tom attended the National Junior Team's summer evaluation camp and has a very good understanding of what it takes to be successful in international hockey, including the World Junior Hockey Championship."
In December, Renney will oversee the National Junior Team selection camp in Winnipeg, from Dec. 12- 18, to which 32 players will be invited, 22 of whom will earn spots on the final tournament roster. The team will hold a pre-competition camp in Kenora, ON from Dec. 19-25. Canada plays its opening game at the 1999 World Junior Hockey Championship in Brandon on Dec. 27 against Slovakia
Canada has won a record 10 World Junior Hockey Championship titles, including seven of nine in the 1990s. Canada won five straight gold medals from 1993-97.