He succeeds Bob Nicholson, who resigned this year after running the governing body for more than 15 years. Renney called the appointment an "absolute privilege" at a news conference Tuesday.
Renney spent parts of eight seasons as an NHL coach from 1996 through 2012 with Edmonton, the New York Rangers and Vancouver. He was a Detroit Red Wings assistant the past two seasons.
Renney coached Canada to the silver medal at the 1994 Olympics. With the Rangers, he also was director of player personnel and vice-president of player development.
Jim Hornell, chairman of Hockey Canada's board of directors, lauded Renney's experience on all levels of the sport and his "strong passion for hockey development."