SUN Hockey Pool

Players respected Renney: Horcoff

Shawn Horcoff says he was surprised that Renney's contract wasn't renewed. (Edmonton Sun file)

Shawn Horcoff says he was surprised that Renney's contract wasn't renewed. (Edmonton Sun file)

Derek Van Diest, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:06 PM ET

EDMONTON - Shawn Horcoff went into the off-season not certain who would be behind the bench when he returned.

But now that the Edmonton Oilers announced they would not be renewing Tom Renney’s contract, the team’s captain is getting set to play for his fourth coach in five years.

“I was a little surprised, but at the same time the longer it went, I think it became more obvious that Tom coming back was going to be a question,” Horcoff said. “It’s obviously difficult, with Tom, he had a lot of respect from the players and we really appreciate what he did for us these last couple of years.”

Renney spent three years behind the Oilers bench, two as the head coach, having been originally been brought on board as an associate to Pat Quinn. Both Quinn and Renney were hired to replace Craig MacTavish.

A case could be made that Quinn and MacTavish had lost the attention of the dressing room prior to being replaced. But according to Horcoff, that was not the case with Renney.

“Not at all. Tom is a guy that is very passionate about his job,” Horcoff said. “He puts a lot of work into the game, trying to do everything he can to make his players and himself better.

“He has a great work ethic and I think all the players had great respect for him.”

Considering the team finished no higher than 29th in the three years Renney was with the organization, initial appearances would suggest the Oilers had little choice but to cut ties with their head coach.

However, Renney’s situation was unique, having been brought on to guide the team through a rebuilding period.

“I think in a lot of ways Tom was put in a real difficult situation,” said Horcoff. “The organization made it real clear that they were going through a rebuilding process and rebuilding processes take time.

“He was there for the first two years and that’s early in a rebuilding process. I think he did very well with what he had in front of him.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

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