TORONTO -- Tom Renney, president and chief executive officer of Hockey Canada, is proud of the effort put forth by the Canadian National Junior Team and host cities Montreal and Toronto during the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship the past two weeks.
Renney took the time to answer some questions during a press conference before the bronze-medal game between Slovakia and Sweden at Air Canada Centre on Monday.
"This is my first go-round at the [WJC] and it's certainly unique in lots of ways," Renney said. "It's a premier event in the world at this time in the year and the level of play in both Montreal and Toronto has been exceptional, as usual. I'm proud of Canada and the performance of our team, coaching staff and staff, and the volunteers in Toronto and Montreal for having done an outstanding job in putting this whole thing together to the point where Canada gets an opportunity to play the last game of the tournament. It's rightfully so and justified."
Here are a few highlights of Renney's discussion:
On attendance figures and possible changes in the future:
Renney: "I'm responsible for what happens beyond this point so I'm taking responsibility for what lies ahead that's critical for all of us. I don't know if there's much to comment on quite honestly until we have an opportunity as a group and interested parties to review the event in fairness of the whole process. The idea here is to make sure we give ourselves the opportunity and listen to our constituents, pay attention to what was done well and maybe what wasn't and come up with a formula and strategy to move forward."
Can the IIHF step in and make changes if it doesn't agree with Hockey Canada:
Renney: "We're in a partnership with the IIHF in a number of other events as well and this is no different. We would pay very close attention to how they feel about the process and feel about our findings based on the conclusion of this event. Moving forward at the end of the day I feel very strongly that we'll get the call but we would not make that call without the inclusion of some very key constituents and the IIHF being the biggest."
Impressions of Canada forward Connor McDavid, the projected No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft:
Renney: "A very, very good player, no question about it. The beauty of this event is that within this age group and peer group you are seeing the very best on best. Connor most definitely belongs in this tournament as one of the best players, and having been out for so long with the [hand] injury, missing a lot of hockey, his last two games and the last for sure having been his best, I think you're seeing a young player hitting stride and really living up to the billing of being an outstanding hockey player. The beauty of Connor, if I may, is to suggest that it's all about the team for him at this point and that's what makes him special."
How the situation was worked out with the Ottawa Senators for them to loan Curtis Lazar:
Renney: "It was an interesting process since I was on the NHL side of these inquiries for many years. I felt it was prudent on us to be patient and make the initial inquiry and then back off. The NHL general managers always want to hold on to those very good young players on the cusp of playing in the NHL for as long as they can; injuries are a mitigating factor. That being said, the Senators felt all along that Lazar would be the captain of our hockey club and I think you can see why by the metamorphosis of this team with his leadership. Given the nature with how they both play, we thought that Connor [McDavid] and Curtis would play together and be a dynamic duo. It would also allow Connor to play with some of the acumen that's required for this tournament under the circumstances he's existing with to take the leadership with Curtis as well. They've embraced that."
The job that Canada coach Benoit Groulx has done:
Renney: "I think he's done a fantastic job. You know what? It's so important to look back on history as your next best opportunity to present yourself to the future and Ben was a part of a tough go last year [as an assistant coach], and because of his demeanor, his knowledge of the game, his ability to put a game plan together and ability to empower the people around him, we felt he would be an excellent choice to coach this team. He's done exactly that. By looking back at what happened last year and translating that into what the needs playing at home are at this point and time, Ben has done an outstanding job of making sure everyone has felt relevant. He made certain every single message had genuine intent and his authenticity is what has made him special for his team and a big reason why we're playing the last game of the tournament."