For Sacco, moving home is just cherry on top

For Sacco, moving home is just cherry on top
July 24, 2014, 3:45 pm
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When former Bruins assistant coach Geoff Ward took a head coaching job in Germany in June, Joe Sacco knew what to do.

Reach out to Claude Julien.

Sacco was interested in the job vacancy as soon as he heard about it, and after proactively getting in touch with Julien, the two eventually connected, met, and well, here is your new Bruins assistant coach.

"Well it's obviously an exciting time to be a part of the Bruins organization right now and the success that they've had in the past number of years," Sacco said. "Moving forward especially with the group now, I feel pretty fortunate right now to step in and serve in the capacity that I'll be doing so."

Of course the coaching thing isn't new to Sacco. He coached the Colorado Avalanche for four seasons (2009-2013), and served as an assistant with the Buffalo Sabres last season. Prior to the NHL, he served as a coach at the AHL level.

Massachusetts isn't new to Sacco, either. Hailing from Medford, MA and playing college hockey at Boston University before a 13-season NHL career, Sacco returns to the area where it all began.

But location doesn't have much to do with why he's with the Bruins.

"Well it's exciting. Obviously from a family stand point we're thrilled to be back," Sacco said. "I said this before though and I said this to Claude when we were talking and I also mentioned it to Peter [Chiarelli]: to me it's just an added bonus. There's so many other things that are attractive about coming back. I mentioned before with the organization and with the staff that they had in place and with the current team and success . . . but coming back to this part where it all kind of started is just an added bonus for myself and the family."

Julien certainly seems pleased with the hiring, saying that Sacco "stood out" above the rest of the "real good" interviews for numerous reasons.

"He's got some great experience not only as a hockey player, but as an assistant coach whether it was in the American League or NHL and also a head coach in both leagues as well," Julien said. "So just the fact that we're able to have a guy with that much experience coming into our group, and to come in with I guess also the fact that he's been a player for such a long time, we all know that he'll have instant respect from our players.

"And for me it was important to have one of those kind of coaches because of the fact that I give them a lot of responsibilities as you guys all know. And it was important that I had somebody that I felt real comfortable and could trust extremely well, and Joe was that guy."

Julien specifically mentioned the fact that Sacco's experience coaching in the Western Conference is something that can prove very valuable for a staff with mostly Eastern Conference experience. But it doesn't end there. Sacco is a former forward, and that played into the decision as well, seeing as Julien and assistant coach Doug Houda are of the defensive mind.

That's also partially why former defenseman Bruce Cassidy, though qualified, didn't get the job and will remain the head coach of the Providence Bruins.